Alta Devices has achieved a 30.8 percent solar cell efficiency record verified by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). The achievement has resulted from the company’s first implementation of a new generation ‘dual junction’ solar cell technology which augments the company’s existing ‘single junction’.
The higher level of efficiency translates into more electricity generated from smaller surface areas enabling Alta to develop highly efficient, very thin and flexible mobile power technology solutions for consumer devices which can extend the battery life of products such as smartphones, tablets, keyboards, mice, remote controls and numerous other products.
“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.”
Alta has also created a calculator to help device manufacturers understand the benefits of using the new technology on their products. The computer computes the battery life extension for a variety of consumer mobile devices, so, for example, a typical outdoor worker could potentially realize 80 percent more battery life each day for their mobile phone, while a student could perceivably get over 60 percent more battery life for his or her tablet. These results could be achieved with minimal weight or form-factor penalty on their device design.
“Alta Devices has been setting efficiency records since 2010” added Chris Norris. “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. We continue to redefine the boundaries of what is possible with solar power.”
Alta Devices used a number of breakthrough approaches with regards to the implementation of Gallium Arsenide in solar cells in order to pioneer what may be the world’s highest efficiency single junction solar technology. The company’s new dual junction technology builds on this approach but implements a second junction using Indium Gallium Phosphide (InGaP) as the absorber on top of the base cell. InGaP uses high energy photons more efficiently thereby generating more electricity from the same amount of light than a single junction device.