USA: Alta Devices has reached 30.8 percent solar cell efficiency. This new NREL (National Renewable Energy Laboratory) verified record has resulted from the company’s first implementation of a new generation “dual junction” solar cell technology which augments the company’s “single junction” technology.
Higher efficiency directly translates into more electricity generated from smaller surface areas. Therefore, applying Alta’s highly efficient, very thin and flexible mobile power technology to consumer devices can extend the battery life of everyday products such as smartphones, tablets, keyboards, mice, remote controls, and more.
“We are changing the way solar technology is used,” said Chris Norris, president and CEO of Alta Devices. “With our technology, enough energy can be generated from sunlight to effectively power devices in ways not previously possible. We are working with a number of customers who are designing their mobile products to increase battery life; and in some cases, we can provide enough energy to eliminate the need to plug into the electric grid.”
To help device manufacturers understand the benefits of using Alta’s material on their products, Alta has created a calculator to compute the battery life extension for a variety of consumer mobile devices. According to the calculator, a typical outdoor worker could realize 80 percent more battery life each day for their mobile phone. Or a student can get over 60 percent more battery life for his or her tablet device. These results can be achieved with minimal weight or form-factor penalty on the device design.
“Alta Devices has been setting efficiency records since 2010. This new dual junction record at 30.8 percent is a testament to our technology and our world-class team. It’s also an important step toward our target of 38 percent efficient cells,” said Norris. “We continue to redefine the boundaries of what is possible with solar power.”
Alta Devices pioneered the world’s highest efficiency single junction solar technology by using a number of breakthrough approaches to implementing Gallium Arsenide (GaAs) for solar cells. The company’s new dual junction technology builds on that basic GaAs approach, but implements a second junction (or layer) with Indium Gallium Phosphide (InGaP) as the absorber on top of the base cell.
Since InGaP uses high-energy photons more efficiently, the new dual junction cell generates more electricity from the same amount of light than a single junction device. Alta Devices is currently shipping its single junction technology.