Evolutionary, Not Revolutionary
Spectrolab, a subsidiary of Boeing, has announced that it is starting mass-production of a very efficient concentrating solar cell, the C3MJ+ (the datasheet above is for the C3MJ, the "plus" version is a newer, slightly more efficient model). With an efficiency at converting sunlight into electricity of 39.2%, this cell would be the most efficient on the market. "Last year we set a new world record for efficiency with a test cell that peaked at 41.6 percent. We now have entered production with essentially this same technology and plan to deliver the first of these 39.2 percent efficiency cells in January," said Russ Jones, Spectrolab director of CPV Business Development.
Spectrolab has introduced mass production of a new series of solar cells with increased energy-conversion efficiency each year since 2007. The current C3MJ series entered production in mid-2009. More than 2 million C3MJ cells have been sold to customers around the world (source)
This announcement is not revolutionary, but these kinds of incremental improvements, both in efficiency and costs, are slowly leading us to a world where solar power is very competitive with dirty sources of power (it would already be if a fair price was put on pollution and carbon emissions...). Wind power is ahead right now, but solar has huge complementary potential (having both wind and solar on the grid will help reduce the intermittency from renewables, though we still need other ways to store and manage that variability).
Via Spectrolab, Solar Daily
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