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Sharp Says It’s Developed World’s Most Efficient Solar Cell

Sharp Corp., the Japanese maker of industrial and consumer electronics, said it developed the most efficient solar cell of its type yet.

Using technology pioneered in satellites, the triple-junction device converts 36.9 percent of the light’s energy into power, the Osaka-based company said today on its website. That’s the most efficient for a cell that doesn’t use concentrating technology, the company said.

Because the materials are expensive, they are usually made on a small scale, and concentrating technology is used to magnify the sun’s rays to increase the output of power, Stefan Glunz, an expert with the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE, said in a phone interview from Freiburg, Germany. Sharp’s innovation “is a nice technological success but doesn’t mean much,” Glunz said.

Boeing Co. announced a 39.2 percent efficiency cell using concentrating technology in November 2010.

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