Swiss start-up Insolight on Wednesday said it has achieved 36.4% efficiency for its solar panel technology.
The company added this could be a world record for a flat panel that can be installed on a roof. The result has been validated on a prototype by Germany's Fraunhofer Institute.
The start-up has developed a transparent, flat and very thin optical system made from plastic that directs the sun’s rays to the tiny surface area of very high performance cells, according to an announcement by the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL). Insolight is based in EPFL’s Innovation Park.
As these high performance cells are expensive and currently only used in certain applications like space, the company uses lenses to focus light waves on small segments of the super cells. A key element of the technology is the microtracking system that captures 100% of the sun’s rays, says the announcement. The transparent plate is equipped with an array of millimetric lenses, which act as a small network of magnifiers. It is moved several millimeters during the day by a metallic frame.
EPFL said that similar systems were being developed in several labs around the world, but Insolight's system was nearly market-ready, with all the components designed to be easily mass produced.
The company says that while the system will probably be a little more expensive to buy, this will be offset by the additional energy produced.
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