Just because you see a solar panel on one building doesn’t mean that another solar panel you see on another building is the same. Not all solar cells are created equally, meaning that there are some cases in which certain solar panels were created to be more efficient than others at storing energy.
This is thanks to technology which as it progresses, finds new ways to make solar cells more efficient. Now it seems that over in Australia, researchers at UNSW have managed to set a new world record when it comes to solar cell efficiency by hitting a new sunlight-to-electricity conversion efficiency of 34.5%
Prior to this, the world record holder was Alta Devices in the US which managed to achieve 24%, meaning that the Australian researchers managed to beat them by about 44%. According to senior research fellow Mark Keevers, “This encouraging result shows that there are still advances to come in photovoltaics research to make solar cells even more efficient. Extracting more energy from every beam of sunlight is critical to reducing the cost of electricity generated by solar cells as it lowers the investment needed, and delivering payback faster.”
How they managed to achieve this was by creating a device consisting of a 28 square centimetre four-junction mini-module embedded in a prism. What happens is that when sunlight hits the prism, it is then split into four bands which in turn increases the amount of energy harvested from the sun.
Unfortunately if you were hoping to use this technology for your home, don’t bank on that happening because according to the researchers, the current design is too complex and too expensive for widespread application, although they are working on helping reduce its complexity.