Sharp Corporation has achieved the world’s highest solar cell conversion efficiency of 37.7% using a triple-junction compound solar cell in which three photo-absorption layers are stacked together. Sharp achieved this latest breakthrough as a result of a research and development initiative promoted by Japan’s New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) on the theme of “R&D on Innovative Solar Cells.” Measurement of the value of 37.7%, which sets a new record for the world’s highest conversion efficiency, was confirmed at the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST).
To achieve this latest increase in conversion efficiency, Sharp capitalized on the ability of the new cell to efficiently absorb light from different wavelengths in sunlight and convert it into electricity. Sharp also increased the active area*4 for converting light into electricity through optimal processing of the cell edges. These improvements led to higher maximum output levels for the solar cell and enabled Sharp to achieve a solar cell conversion efficiency of 37.7%—the highest in the world. Sharp’s aim for the future is to apply this latest development success to concentrator photovoltaic power systems that use lenses to collect and convert sunlight into electricity. The company also foresees numerous other practical applications for the cells, such as on space satellites and vehicles.