Kyocera Achieves World Record Solar Module Efficiency
With the recent resurgence in interest in solar technology, well-funded teams of researchers around the world are now hard at work trying to improve the efficiency of solar technology. In September 2009, Suntech set a new record for multicrystalline cell based solar panel efficiency, reaching 16.53 percent. Just a few months later, the Energy Research Center of the Netherlands designed a panel with 17 percent efficiency. Now, Kyocera has developed a new solar panel with a surface efficiency of 17.3 percent, the current record.
One way that Kyocera has achieved this increased efficiency is by moving the electrode wiring to the back of the cell, rather than using the traditional surface wiring, thus increasing the surface that is available to harness sun rays. While these advances may seem incrementally small to the layperson, in crystalline silicon solar technology, these minor increments in aperture efficiency (surface area efficiency) actually make a huge difference in performance and cost effectiveness. Expect to see more efficiency gains soon as Kyocera and other companies race to continue developing larger cell sizes in an effort to increase energy output, while at the same time reducing cell thickness to decrease material and shipping costs. The race is definitely on!