Sharp Solar Cell Efficiency Record — Another One (44.4%)

  • Published on June 23rd, 2013 by

In May, Sharp regained the world’s triple-junction, non-concentrator solar cell efficiency record — 37.9%. Now, it has also taken the overall world solar cell efficiency record — 44.4%. Here’s another guest post from Mathias Aarre Maehlum of Energy Informative on the news.

By Mathias Aarre Maehlum

A research team at Sharp Corporation has announced that it has created a solar cell capable of converting 44.4% of incoming sunlight into electricity. The solar cell is of the “concentrator triple-junction compound” type, which basically is a lens-based system that focuses sunlight.

The high conversion efficiencies that we see with compound solar cells are due to several photoabsorbing layers typically made from indium and gallium. Sharp’s record-setting solar cell uses three layers (InGaP top, GaAs middle, and InGaAs bottom), as you can see on the illustration below:


Comparing to the best efficiencies of solar panels on the market today is not really fair, as these solar panels are cost-competitive. A better comparison would be against other research cells in NREL’s Best Research Cell Efficiencies.

The last record (44.0%) was set by the NREL III-V Multijunction Photovoltaics Group in November, 2012.

solar efficiency records

Compound solar cells are mostly used in space satellites where high conversion rates and good space-efficiency are more important than costs. Sharp is looking to use the technology of compound solar cells in terrestrial applications in the future.

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About the Author

is the director of CleanTechnica, the most popular cleantech-focused website in the world, and Planetsave, a world-leading green and science news site. He has been covering green news of various sorts since 2008, and he has been especially focused on solar energy, electric vehicles, and wind energy since 2009. Aside from his work on CleanTechnica and Planetsave, he's the founder and director of Solar Love, EV Obsession, and Bikocity. To connect with Zach on some of your favorite social networks, go to and click on the relevant buttons.
  • CBRG


  • Guest

    Wow no Doubt… Solar is the beat renewable energy source you could own..

  • Wow no Doubt… Solar is the best renewable energy source you could own.

  • mriwner

    Great Job of one we will never see on the market, WHY? Powers to Be, its just not in there Market for helping mankind, sorry guys

    • Well, the biggest barrier is that these don’t compete on cost per kWh. But maybe someday.

  • NREL Intern

    Besides the research cell efficiency chart, where can I find the reference for this new data?

  • Artjom

    Where to buy these?
    I can not buy new earth but i can buy photo cells.

  • Zach

    When will solar panels with high solar cell conversion be open for sale to the general public? I’m not willing to pay top dollar for what we already know is being dwarfed by coming technology, why buy a cell with a 15% conversion when 37% is on it’s way to being commercialised.