A record-breaking solar panel that can convert more than a quarter of the sunlight it receives into electricity has been developed by researchers in Japan.
The silicon solar cell is so efficient that it turns 26.3 per cent of the energy from the sun into renewable power.
In contrast, nature’s ‘solar panels’ – leaves – have a “photosynthetic efficiency” of between three and six per cent.
The scientists behind the new panel also said they believed they had found a way to create a one with the maximum level of efficiency considered to be theoretically possible – 29.1 per cent.
Writing in the journal Nature Energy, the team from the Kaneka Corporation in Osaka, said: “Improving the photo-conversion efficiency of silicon solar cells is crucial to further the deployment of renewable electricity.
“Essential device properties such as lifetime, series resistance and optical properties must be improved simultaneously to reduce recombination, resistive and optical losses.
“Here, we use industrially compatible processes to fabricate large-area silicon solar cells … the photo-conversion efficiency is over 26 per cent.”