Fraunhofer ISE sets new world record with 36.7% efficient CPV module

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Fraunhofer ISE has achieved a 36.7% conversion efficiency with a concentrating photovoltaic (CPV) module, as measured under concentrator standard test conditions at a concentration of 230 suns. The components utilized are miniature versions of commercial CPV components, with a module aperture area of only 832 square centimeters.

The institute credits innovation at both the cell and module level for its accomplishment. The 7 square millimeter cells were the same with which Fraunhofer, Soitec, CEA-Leti and the Helmholz Center achieved a world record 44.7% efficiency in September 2013. These cells are based on a quadruple-junction design, with sub-cell layers of GaInP, GaAs, GaInAs and InP.

Soitec notes that its wafer bonding technology is a key component of this achievement, which allows it to link two semiconductor crystals, which otherwise could not be grown on top of each other with high quality.

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These cells were incorporated into Fraunhofer’s FLATCON module concept, which utilizes 16 square centimeter Fresnel lenses manufactured by ORAFOL Fresnel Optics based on a new design by the institute. Fraunhofer ISE expects to successfully transfer this efficiency to commercial CPV module production within one or two years.

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