Spectrolab making 30.7% efficient solar cells for space applications
Spectrolab, which manufactures multi-junction solar cells and panels for concentrated photovoltaic and spacecraft systems, says that it has begun manufacturing a higher-efficiency solar cell, providing opportunities for the aerospace industry to develop lighter and less expensive spacecraft.
Due to Spectrolab's advances in manufacturing, the new XTJ Prime cell has achieved a solar energy conversion efficiency of 30.7% (higher than any other comparable model currently available, it is claimed). First delivery of the higher-efficiency XTJ Prime cells is expected later this year.
"As space has become more accessible to private companies and countries, competition to provide the highest-powered spacecraft at the lowest cost has intensified," noted Spectrolab's president Tony Mueller during a celebration of Spectrolab's 60th anniversary. "The increased efficiency of the XTJ Prime solar cell drives a lower-dollar-per-watt solution, meaning spacecraft using this new cell will be lighter and less expensive to build and launch, and more powerful once in space," he added.
Spectrolab provides products to the commercial satellite industry, the US Department of Defense, NASA, and domestic and global aerospace companies. Earlier this year, its space solar cells helped set a new record as NASA's interplanetary probe Juno traveled further from the sun than any other solar-powered spacecraft, reaching more than 517 million miles on its way to Jupiter.