German researchers hit a new world record for solar efficiency, reports Katie Valentine at Climate Progress. After three years of study, researchers have created a solar cell that’s 44.7 percent efficient, meaning it converts 44.7 percent of the sun’s energy into electricity. The new record isn’t much higher than the recent previous record of 44 percent, but it brings the solar industry closer to achieving 50 percent efficiency. A new solar cell structure was used with four solar subcells to achieve the high rate of efficiency. Typical PV solar panels — ones that are available commercially — have an efficiency rate of 15 to 16 percent — some reach higher, like the California-based Silevo cells that hit 21 percent. The more efficient the panel, the less surface area is needed to provide the same amount of energy. Technology like the new cell structure isn’t used commercially yet, but the industry’s push for higher and higher efficiency could eventually lead to lower costs for consumers, a trend that’s already starting: the price of installing residential solar panels hit a record low in 2012, and costs are expected to keep falling.
Join the swelling numbers of voters TELLING Congress they’ll vote for Clean Energy candidates here: http://signon.org/sign/we-are-the-clean-99?source=c.em.cp&r_by=487176 . This is an ongoing campaign (the next Congressional election is in 2 years!) so please, spread the word. It’s our way of telling Congress that a strong clean energy voting bloc is out there. This is how YOU can make a difference.
For more on Climate Change, check out my weekly column at the HuffingtonPost, Climate Change This Week : http://www.huffingtonpost.com/author/index.php?author=mary-ellen-harte
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