Corning Incorporated (NYSE: GLW) and Oerlikon Solar (SIX: OERL) announced today that they have achieved a record-breaking 11.9 percent stabilized conversion efficiency in a silicon-tandem, research-size photovoltaic cell. Results were confirmed by the United States National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).
Based on the unique combination of Oerlikon Solar's world leading Micromorph technology and Corning's thin specialty glass, the resulting solar cell's energy conversion efficiency exceeds the current 11.7 percent industry record, set in 2004, and was achieved without the use of antireflective coating.
Increasing conversion efficiency, or the rate at which sunlight energy is converted into electric current, is a key industry challenge. This milestone for Micromorph tandem technology is particularly significant in the advancement of thin-film photovoltaics, a rapidly progressing segment of the fast-growing solar energy industry.
The newly developed photovoltaics research cell combines the advanced light-trapping capabilities of Corning's specialty glass and Oerlikon Solar's proprietary Micromorph technology, utilizing a zinc oxide low-pressure chemical vapor deposition (LPCVD) front contact.
"The 11.9 percent efficiency achievement is an important step forward in thin-film innovation for our customers," said
Dr. Jurg Henz, chief executive officer, Oerlikon Solar. "We look forward to continued work with Corning on a roadmap to advance this technology to cell efficiencies of 12 percent and beyond."
"We are thrilled with the milestone reached through this very strong collaboration between Oerlikon Solar and Corning," noted Dr. Gary Calabrese, vice-president, Science and Technology and director, Corning Photovoltaic Glass Technologies. "More importantly, we are strongly encouraged by the great opportunities that these advancements make possible for the photovoltaics industry as the combined efforts of these two companies move forward to achieve even higher efficiencies with silicon tandem."