News Article

Spectrolab Raises Solar Efficiency To 40.7 Percent

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory verifies that Spectrolab's metamorphic structures have set a new world record for conversion efficiency.

A team of engineers at solar cell manufacturer Spectrolab has produced a photovoltaic system with a record-breaking conversion efficiency of 40.7 per cent.

The US National Renewable Energy Laboratory has verified the milestone, which should help III-V semiconductor technology to increase its penetration of the market for terrestrial solar power systems.

Spectrolab CEO David Lillington hailed the achievement, and said that once the high-efficiency cells were qualified, they could be manufactured in very high volumes with little impact on production flow.

That s because Spectrolab already manufactures very similar structures for satellite power applications, where III-V materials are now firmly established as the technology of choice.

At Compound Semiconductor s Key Conference last month, Spectrolab's Hojun Yoon, part of the research team that developed the record-breaking cell, said that increasing conversion efficiency was the key to reducing the cost of concentrator photovoltaics (CPV) to a point that would be broadly acceptable in the terrestrial market.

"A 40-50 percent efficient cell could make the market explode," said Yoon, adding that III-V cells were en route to hit 45 percent efficiency within three years.

Richard King, the principal investigator within Spectrolab s high-efficiency solar cell development, said that the use of metamorphic "“ rather than lattice-matched "“ materials was a key part of the achievement. "The excellent performance of these materials hints at still higher efficiency in future solar cells," added King.

Spectrolab s metamorphic structures are based on three individual cells grown on top of one another using MOCVD and connected in series. Thick layers of p-doped GaInP, GaInAs, and the germanium substrate on which the chip structure is based each absorb individual wavelength bands of the solar radiation to yield the high-efficiency conversion.

Having recently had its cells deployed commercially as part of a 33 kW electricity generating system in Australia, Spectrolab said that it expects several more multi-million dollar supply contracts to be signed within the next few months.

Spectrolab s rivals in the III-V photovoltaics sector, Emcore and Sharp Corporation, have also been busy meeting production orders in what has become a key area of growth for the compounds sector (see related stories).

CS International to return to Brussels – bigger and better than ever!

The leading global compound semiconductor conference and exhibition will once again bring together key players from across the value chain for two-days of strategic technical sessions, dynamic talks and unrivalled networking opportunities.

Join us face-to-face between 28th – 29th June 2022

  • View the agenda.
  • 3 for the price of 1. Register your place and gain complementary access to TWO FURTHER industry leading conferences: PIC International and SSI International.
  • Email  or call +44 (0)24 7671 8970 for more details.

*90% of exhibition space has gone - book your booth before it’s too late!


Search the news archive

To close this popup you can press escape or click the close icon.
Register - Step 1

You may choose to subscribe to the Compound Semiconductor Magazine, the Compound Semiconductor Newsletter, or both. You may also request additional information if required, before submitting your application.

Please subscribe me to:


You chose the industry type of "Other"

Please enter the industry that you work in:
Please enter the industry that you work in:
Live Event