Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Converting Sunlight Into Electricity: European Project Breaks Efficiency Record

Date:
November 21, 2008
Source:
European Commission, Directorate-General for Research (Research DG)
Summary:
Scientists have developed photovoltaic multi-junction solar cells which are able to convert 39.7% of the energy of sun light into electricity. This is the highest percentage ever reached in Europe, according to researchers.

Multi-junction solar cell for use in converting sunlight into electricity.
Credit: Fraunhofer ISE

Scientists of the Commission-financed project FULLSPECTRUM have developed photovoltaic (PV) multi-junction (MJ) solar cells which are able to convert 39.7% of the energy of sun light into electricity. This is the highest percentage ever reached in Europe, according to researchers after their final workshop today in El Escorial, Spain.

The main barrier to large-scale deployment of PV systems is the high production cost of electricity, due to the significant capital investment costs. Research is engaged to reduce manufacturing costs and to raise the efficiency of the cells. Today conventional PV cells made of silicon are converting only a fraction of the solar light spectrum around 17%.

FULLSPECTRUM's multi-junction solar cells are able to catch more sun light energy due to their composition of different materials, including gallium, phosphorus, indium and germanium. These multi-junction solar cells are expensive and have only been used for applications in space. However, the cost can be considerably reduced by arranging them in special panels which include lenses that focus a large amount of solar energy onto the cells. These concentrators can reach far above 1000 times the natural solar power flux and have also been the object of the project research.

FULLSPECTRUM is an integrated project involving 19 European public and industrial research centres from seven EU Member States, as well as Russia and Switzerland. It is coordinated by the Universidad Politιcnica de Madrid, Instituto de Energνa Solar and started in November 2003 with an overall budget of € 14,7 Million of with the European Commission financed € 8.4 Million.

Background

The European Commission has spent more than € 105 Million in research on photovoltaic energy since the start of Framework Programme 6 in 2002. Many of the projects are trying to get production costs of silicon solar cells down.

Energy research is constituent of the European Union Energy and Climate Package. One of its ambitious targets for 2020 is to increase by up to 20% the level of renewable energy in the EU's overall final energy consumption. To reach this goal the European Commission started the Strategic Energy Technology (SET)-Plan.

The Solar Europe Industrial Initiative as part of the SET-Plan has recently elevated its target for the participation of photovoltaics in the European electricity demand by 2020 from 3% to 12%. This can be translated into installing from 350 up to 400 GW P (Gigawatt of peak capacity) in photovoltaics, corresponding to an average growth of ~40% per year from today's situation.

Back in 2006, the total installed capacity of PV systems in the EU was 3,4 GW P , representing approximately 0,5% of the total EU electrical capacity. The electricity generated by PV was approximately 2,5 TWh (Terawatthour), or 0,1% of the demand. The annual installations of PV systems in 2006 in the EU reached 1250 Megawatt.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by European Commission, Directorate-General for Research (Research DG). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

European Commission, Directorate-General for Research (Research DG). "Converting Sunlight Into Electricity: European Project Breaks Efficiency Record." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 November 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/11/081120162704.htm>.
European Commission, Directorate-General for Research (Research DG). (2008, November 21). Converting Sunlight Into Electricity: European Project Breaks Efficiency Record. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 16, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/11/081120162704.htm
European Commission, Directorate-General for Research (Research DG). "Converting Sunlight Into Electricity: European Project Breaks Efficiency Record." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/11/081120162704.htm (accessed September 16, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Space Race Pits Bezos Vs Musk

Space Race Pits Bezos Vs Musk

Reuters - Business Video Online (Sep. 16, 2014) — Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos' startup will team up with Boeing and Lockheed to develop rocket engines as Elon Musk races to have his rockets certified. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
MIT's Robot Cheetah Unleashed — Can Now Run, Jump Freely

MIT's Robot Cheetah Unleashed — Can Now Run, Jump Freely

Newsy (Sep. 16, 2014) — MIT developed a robot modeled after a cheetah. It can run up to speeds of 10 mph, though researchers estimate it will eventually reach 30 mph. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Manufacturer Prints 3-D Car In Record Time

Manufacturer Prints 3-D Car In Record Time

Newsy (Sep. 15, 2014) — Automobile manufacturer Local Motors created a drivable electric car using a 3-D printer. Printing the body only took 44 hours. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Refurbished New York Subway Tunnel Unveiled After Sandy Damage

Refurbished New York Subway Tunnel Unveiled After Sandy Damage

Reuters - US Online Video (Sep. 15, 2014) — New York officials unveil subway tunnels that were refurbished after Superstorm Sandy. Nathan Frandino reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

      Technology News



      Save/Print:
      Share:  

      Free Subscriptions


      Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

      Get Social & Mobile


      Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

      Have Feedback?


      Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
      Mobile iPhone Android Web
      Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
      Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
      Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins