Alta Achieves New Record With Dual-Junction Thin-Film Solar Cell

Alta Devices has announced a record 30.8 percent efficiency with its latest generation dual-junction thin-film solar cell, a breakthrough the company says has the potential to vastly improve the battery life of mobile systems.
The record efficiency has been verified by the USA’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), the same body which last year confirmed Alta’s record of 28.8 percent efficiency for its single-junction solar cell.
Alta’s technology is based on flexible thin-film solar wafers made from gallium arsenide (GaAs). GaAs solar cells are far more expensive to manufacture than traditional PV cells, but with such high energy conversion levels, the new dual-junction cell allows for more energy to be generated over a smaller area, making them perfect for use in devices such as smartphones, tablets and other portable devices.
“We are changing the way solar technology is used,” says Chris Norris, president and CEO of Alta Devices. 
“With our technology, enough energy can be generated from sunlight to effectively power devices in ways not previously possible. We are working with a number of customers who are designing their mobile products to increase battery life; and in some cases, we can provide enough energy to eliminate the need to plug into the electric grid.” 
The company has designed an online calculator to demonstrate how much extra battery life a customer could expect from their solar-assisted device, depending on sun exposure. According to the calculator, an office worker would get 35 percent more battery life from their smartphone, and a typical student up to 60 percent more life from a 10-inch tablet.
“Alta Devices has been setting efficiency records since 2010. This new dual junction record at 30.8% is a testament to our technology and our world-class team. It’s also an important step toward our target of 38% efficient cells,” says Norris. “We continue to redefine the boundaries of what is possible with solar power.”