Semiconductor Today, October 15th, 2012
Solar Junction of San Jose, CA, USA, which manufactures III-V multi-junction solar cells for concentrated photovoltaics (CPV), has set raised its own world record for the energy conversion efficiency of a commercial-ready production solar cell, from 43.5% at 418 suns (achieved in April 2011) to 44% at 947 suns now, as verified by the US National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).
Founded in 2007 with investors including New Enterprise Associates, Draper Fisher Jurvetson and Advanced Technology Ventures, Solar Junction says that its cells, which incorporate proprietary adjustable-spectrum lattice-matched (A-SLAM) materials technology, enable it to more optimally partition the solar spectrum for maximum efficiency and greater reliability.
“Breaking our own world record cements Solar Junction as an innovator and leader in the multi-junction cell space,” reckons VP technology Vijit Sabnis. “We continue to push technological boundaries to further drive CPV costs down.”
Solar Junction’s announcement follows a $19.2m investment round in February, a 5MW order in May from CPV system maker SolFocus Inc of Mountain View, CA, USA, and several industry awards. Earlier this year, Solar Junction and epitaxial wafer supplier IQE plc of Cardiff, Wales, UK signed an investment and manufacturing agreement to ramp Solar Junction’s SJ3 solar cell product to high volumes.
In addition, Solar Junction is commissioning a 6”-wafer fabrication facility, partially funded by a US Department of Energy (DOE) contract awarded in April for SUNPATH (Scaling Up Nascent PV At Home). The Silicon Valley-based project is part of the DOEʼs SunShot Program, which aims to increase PV manufacturing in the US through investments in technologies that are sustainable with competitive cost and high performance. SunShot investments are designed to help achieve $1/Watt by 2020. Solar Junction’s shipments for SUNPATH are due to begin in first-quarter 2013.