Monday, August 29, 2011

No. 299: Generation efficiency of a photovoltaic cell increases to 18% (August 30, 2011)

A research team made up of Kyoto University and Tohoku University developed the technology to increase the generation efficiency of the multicrystalline silicon photovoltaic cell to 18%, 2% higher than that of the existing product on the market. Multicrystalline silicon photovoltaic cells are the major player for photovoltaic cells for housing because they are inexpensive and because multicrystalline silicon is easy to make. The research team successfully developed the production technology to increase the generation efficiency by making silicon crystals free from strain. A crystal of 10 cm square realized the efficiency of 18.2%. The production process and production cost are estimated to remain the same as those of the existing product. It plans to build trial equipment for the production in alliance with Dai-Ichi Kiden in Tokyo in two years and explore the possibility of commercial viability. The research team believes that the new technology has the potential to increase the generation efficiency to 20%. One year is reportedly required to increase the generation efficiency by 0.1%, and all companies involved in the photovoltaic business are in the midst of tough competition.

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