While solar energy remains a viable renewable option, the low efficiency rate of turning sunlight into electricity continues to be a roadblock to widespread adoption. Researchers at the University of New South Wales are looking to change with a solar system that has broken the world record for efficiency, converting over 40% of sunlight into electricity.
The breakthrough, outlined in a paper to be published in Progress in Photolvoltaics and independently verified by NREL, was made possible by utilizing a custom optical bandpass filter to capture sunlight that is usually wasted by commercial cells. The filters, which reflect specific wavelengths of light while transmitting others, allows the system to convert light into electricity at a much higher rate than is possible for solar cells alone. The researchers hope that their technology will help renewable energy to become more price competitive with fossil fuels.
“We used commercial solar cells, but in a new way, so these efficiency improvements are readily accessible to the solar industry,” says Mark Keevers, managing scientist on the project.
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