NREL Achieves 16.4 Percent Efficiency With CdTe Solar Cell

April 25, 2001 by Jeff Shepard

Researchers at the US Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL, Golden, CO) report that that they have surpassed a record for electricity produced by solar cells made from cadmium telluride (CdTe). The new measurement of 16.4 percent bested the previous threshold of 15.8 percent efficiency, a record that had been in place since 1992.

The record-setting new CdTe process utilizes new materials that interact chemically to improve adhesion, light collection and electronic properties. “This technology offers the prospect of getting a better product to customers," stated NREL research manager John Benner. “Our industry partners can use this technology in expanding capacity to meet the rapidly mounting demand for PV."

The NREL team that produced the record-setting solar cell works within the National Center for Photovoltaics in collaboration with the National CdTe Team that also includes scientists from universities and industry.