Skepticism, Medicine and Science News

25% Milestone

A team of scientists, led by Martin Green and Stuart Wenham, at the University of New South Wales’ ARC Photovoltaic Centre of Excellence has created the worlds first silicon solar cell with an efficiency of over 25%. This is basically the same cell that used to be the previous record holder, with an efficiency of 24.7%. The standard test for solar cells is to subject them to a given spectrum of light, which is supposed to mimic that produced by the sun. The standards for this spectrum was recently revised, and it was this that led to the increase in efficiency for this cell. 

Other types of solar cells have achieved much higher levels of efficiency, with the current record holder being a cell created by scientists at the University of Delaware with 42.8% efficiency

The most important aspect of solar cells is not, however, the efficiency itself, but the efficiency-cost ratio. The cells have to be cheap enough to be an affordable alternative to other energy sources, while still be able to produce enough energy to be worth the effort. Dye-sensitized solar cells (DCSs) are beneficial in that they are thin, flexible and low-cost. The efficiency is not as high as for silicon-based solar cells, with the current record being about 11%. A solvent-free type DCS, which is more suitable for outdoor use, recently managed 8.2% efficiency.


October 24, 2008 - Posted by | General Science | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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