Alta Devices has announced that its most recent single junction solar cell has been certified by National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) as being 28.9% efficient.
This certification confirms that Alta has set a new record and continues to hold the world record efficiency for this type of solar cell. This breakthrough, combined with the unique thinness and flexibility of Alta’s cells, redefines how solar technology can be used to empower autonomy in many applications.
Alta Devices CEO Jian Ding said: “Alta Devices goal is to continue to lead the industry in solar technology and to enable a broad range of autonomous systems. We believe this is the best way to support the innovations of our customers.”
Autonomous systems are predicted to become a part of daily life – often operating without human intervention. However, every time an autonomous system or vehicle has to stop to refuel or recharge, it requires intervention and is no longer truly autonomous. Alta focuses on developing the world’s best solar technology specifically for autonomous power, allowing vehicles to seamlessly recharge while in motion.
Alta Devices has held continuous world records for solar efficiency for most of the last decade. Alta Devices Founders, Professor Harry Atwater of Caltech and Professor Eli Yablonovitch of the University of California Berkeley explained the significance of this record:
Prof. Atwater said, “Achieving a new record for this class of devices is a landmark because a 1-sun, 1-junction cell is the archetypal solar cell. The fact that Alta is breaking its own record is also significant since many other teams have been actively attempting to break this record.”
Elaborating on the fundamental technical understanding that has driven this achievement, Professor Yablonovitch said, “Alta has the first solar cell based on Internal Luminescence Extraction, which has enabled Alta to remain ahead of others. This scientific principle will be in all future high efficiency solar cells.”
The company has recently launched its Gen4 AnyLight commercial technology, demonstrating a significant weight reduction from the previous version, resulting in an improved power to weight ratio of 160 percent. This is critical for tomorrow’s autonomous UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles), electric vehicles, and sensors. It can be used to generate substantial power over small surfaces without compromising design criteria.