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Kyocera, SunPower mark solar breakthroughs

Posted: 18 Oct 2006 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Kyocera? SunPower? solar cell? solar cells? multicrystalline?

Kyocera Corp. and SunPower Corp. on Oct. 16 separately claimed major breakthroughs in the solar-cell arena.

Japan's Kyocera claimed that it has achieved a new world record of 18.5 percent energy conversion efficiency for a 15-by-15cm multicrystalline silicon solar cell. Prior records for energy conversion efficiency in multicrystalline cells of this size were also set by Kyocera, including 14.5 percent in 1989, 17.1 percent in 1996, and 17.7 percent in 2004, the company said.

Kyocera's other recent efficiency benchmarks were achieved both by optimizing the cell's grid-line configuration and by texturing the cell's surface using the company's proprietary ''d.Blue'' process, which maximizes sunlight collection by reducing reflectivity. The latest improvement is the result of increasing the amount of light intercepted by the cell by moving the front contacts to the back of the cell, according to the company.

Meanwhile, SunPower announced its latest solar panel, offering higher power output and conversion efficiency than its current products. The new SPR-315 solar panel utilizes the company's new 22-percent-efficient Gen 2 solar cells and carries a rated power output of 315W, said Peter Aschenbrenner, vice president of marketing and sales.

"Our new SPR-315 solar panel breaks the 300 watt power barrier while offering even higher efficiency than SunPower's previous industry-leading products,'' he said in a statement.

- Mark LaPedus
EE Times

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