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CPV cell efficiencies could reach 50% by 2015

Concentrated photovoltaic (CPV) cell efficiencies are likely to reach 50% by 2015, according to a recent study from the University of Jaén and CPV Today.

“Commercial cells will reach efficiency levels up to 45%, modules up to 35% and systems up to 30%, which will imply a substantial reduction of costs,” according to an extract from the report.

Recently, a metamorphic triple-junction solar cell of the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems achieved a record efficiency of 41.1% at 454 suns – making multi-junction CPV cells the most efficient photovoltaic devices.

Multi-junction solar cell efficiency tends to increase with the concentration factor as the performance of multi-junction cells is particularly resilient to increases in cell temperature. The only PV technology with a better temperature coefficient is amorphous silicon (a-Si) thin-film, but this technology has a much lower efficiency.

Currently, the useful range of concentration ranges from 2 to 1,000 suns. However, as methods of cooling cells are improved and new materials are employed in building multi-junction the concentration factor could be increased to take full advantage of high efficiency cells, according to CPV Today.

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