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Alta GaAs solar module breaks efficiency record


At 25.1 percent conversion efficiency,company demonstrates best figures yet for mass-produced single-junction solar modules

Hanergy Thin Film Power Group has announced that Fraunhofer ISE CalLab PV Modules, a German solar energy testing laboratory, has rated its US-based subsidiary Alta Devices' newest solar production module as the highest efficiency single-junction solar module ever produced.

With its 25.1 percent conversion efficiency, the module can be used to power a range of products such as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), electric vehicles, and smart sensors that were previously limited by low efficiency solar solutions, says the company.

Hanergy believes that the accelerating trend toward autonomous machines demands a power source that can be seamlessly recharged and has minimal impact on physical form.

"As we move toward a world of autonomous machines, developing sources of power that can be replenished without interruption is increasingly important," said Alta Devices chief marketing officer, Rich Kapusta. "Each time our technology achieves a new world record, it has been designed with a clear focus on this goal."

Jian Ding, senior VP of Hanergy Thin Film and CEO of Alta Devices said: "Our goal with this module was to demonstrate world record efficiency in mass production at commercial scale. Applications for this type of thin and flexible solar power are becoming broader and more critical."

Alta's GaAs modules are said to perform at up to two times that of ordinary flexible solar cells, making them the current world leader in terms of module efficiency for thin film solar technology. Since 2010, Alta's GaAs single-junction cells have broken conversion efficiency records four times and still hold the world's highest (lab) conversion efficiency rate of 28.8 percent.

Alta Devices' thin-film solar panels have been successfully applied to a range of different products. On the transportation side, Alta Devices has worked with European car maker to integrate solar cells into panoramic glass automobile roofs.

In terms of UAVs, Alta Devices has made strides toward solving one of the biggest "pain points" of traditional unmanned aerial vehicles by applying the highest-efficiency GaAs thin-film solar cell to develop a UAV with the longest flight time in the world. Extremely light and flexible, the thin-film panels were integrated into the drone without altering its aerodynamic profile.

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