A new photovoltaic cell structure has reached a record efficiency after three years of research at Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems.

[T]he German Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems have created a solar cell that’s 44.7 percent efficient, meaning it converts 44.7 percent  of the sun’s energy into electricity. The new record isn’t much higher than the previous record of 44 percent , set in December 2012, but as TreeHugger notes , it brings the solar industry closer to achieving 50 percent efficiency.

The panel is constructed out of a new solar cell structure, using subcells to raise the overall efficiency of the panel.

These cells are used in concentrator photovoltaics (CPV) a technology which, according to Phys.org , “achieves more than twice the efficiency of conventional PV power plants in sun-rich locations.”

Solar cells based on this new design are not currently available and it may take several years to reach a point where they can be mass produced. However, this is leading the industry in a direction of even lower costs for solar power and higher efficiencies than we’ve seen.

To read more about the new solar cell design, visit thinkprogress.org.

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