Tiny photovoltaic elements achieve high degrees of efficiency

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The use of photovoltaic -the transformation of sunlight into current electrically is on track in Germany. The industry is booming, with growth rates of over 30%. Near 90% of current solar cells use silicon as the semiconductor,
However, a record established with another material has recently attracted the attention of researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE (Institut für Solare Energiesysteme) have developed a solar cell from III-V semiconductors with which they reached a degree of efficiency record in Europe of 35%. The element only 0,031 cm2 and is composed of materials of third and fifth columns of the periodic classification.

To achieve degrees of over 30% efficiency, it must be stacked solar cells of different materials. "Regarding our record cell, it is a monolithic triple solar cell," says Andreas Bett, project manager at Fraunhofer ISE. "She is made of
Gallium Indium Phosphide, Gallium arsenide and germanium (GaInP / GaAs / Ge) and is manufactured in a single process. The use of three different materials increases the efficiency of the cell, different parts of the solar spectrum are transformed in such a manner
. Optimum electrical energy "This type of cell, and more particularly its high degree of efficiency, revet crucial for Space Research The company RWE Space Solar Power in Heilbronn already produces cells of this type. - On surfaces Much more
Important - was from a process developed by the Fraunhofer ISE. The solar cell also has terrestrial applications. "We place the tiny cells in concentrator modules FLATCON (TM)" explains Gerhard Willeke, director of the department "Solar Cells" has ISE institute. "Thanks to this technology, we can get photovoltaic systems with degrees of effectiveness over 25%."

Of the first demonstrations of FLATCON modules (TM) and the new cells are being developed at Fraunhofer ISE as part of the federal Department research project of the Environment (BMU).

contacts:
- Dr. Andreas Bett, Fraunhofer ISE - tel: + 49 761 4588 5257, Fax: + 49 761
4588 9275 - email:
andreas.bett@ise.fraunhofer.de
Sources: Depeche IDW, Press Release of the Fraunhofer ISE,
18 / 02 / 2005
Editor: Nicolas Condette,
nicolas.condette@diplomatie.gouv.fr

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