A new solar panel has reached 47 percent efficiency in the lab and nearly 40 percent in the field. This panel exceeds typical panels by combining six kinds of collectors into one micro-thin surface. Researchers say the same tech could be fine-tuned to reach a full 50 percent efficiency. A new kind of solar technology has set a world record for the most efficient generation of energy by a solar cell. By stacking six different photoactive layers, the record-setting multi-junction cell has reached nearly 50 percent efficiency in the lab and nearly 40 percent in “single sun” real-life conditions. Rooftop Solar Panels There’s a bit of jargon to unpack before we can really understand what a big deal this is. First, a multi-junction cell is just a solar collector cell that uses more than one “junction,” or layer , of solar technology. Because sunlight covers such a wide range of wavelengths, different kinds of receivers are able to pick up different wavelengths of light in order to cover more of the total available spectrum. Individual types of solar might have efficiency of, say, 8 percent—meaning 92 percent of sunlight is just reflected off like any other surface, but 8 […]

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