United States

Thin-film solar PV reaches record 12 percent efficiency‎

United Solar, the thin-film subsidiary of Energy Conversion Devices, Inc., has achieved a 12 percent conversion efficiency rating for a large-area solar cell using its proprietary Nano-Crystalline(TM) silicon, the highest rating yet for the PV technology.
Thin-film solar PV reaches record 12 percent efficiency‎

The record-breaking efficiency was measured and confirmed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).

“United Solar has been the unquestioned leader in their field and one of the few PV companies in the world that can offer a true building integrated photovoltaic product,” said Dr. Ryne Raffaelle, Director of the National Centre for Photovoltaics at NREL.

The record-setting cell efficiency with an area of 400 square centimetres was encapsulated in United Solar's proprietary thin-film polymer. The company, which is headquartered in France and the US, with sales offices in Italy, Germany and Spain, uses triple-junction technology to incorporate Nano-Crystalline silicon layers on a flexible stainless steel substrate.

According to United Solar, this approach increases cell efficiency by about 5 percent compared to current cells it has in production.

The world record efficiency was achieved under the U.S. Department of Energy's Solar America Initiative Program led by United Solar with participation from NREL and associated universities.

The technology will enter commercial production in 2012 and is expected to reduce the cost of generating solar electricity by over 20 percent, according to the company.

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