Boeing's Spectrolab Releases a New Highly Efficient Solar Energy Cell

A lot of companies have been taking the time to begin investing in solar energy technology as it has become clear that it is necessary to develop the renewable energy industry in order to move forward towards a greener future. One of the companies that have been working with solar energy with some very interesting results has been Boeing and their many subdivisions. While a great deal of the most exciting solar energy related news coming from Boeing’s camp has been about the use of solar cells on flying machines, their latest news has them focusing on selling solar energy cells on the market.

Last week, Spectrolab, a subdivision of Boeing’s Satellite Development Center, announced that they will be releasing a series of highly efficient solar energy cells onto the market called the C3MJ+. The C3MJ+ are designed as triple-junction concentrator photovoltaic cells and are meant to be an improvement off the earlier C3MJ designs. According to Spectrolab, the newest solar cells that they are planning on releasing are made from the element Germanium and is based off the specifications of their forty one point six efficiency solar cells that they announced earlier this year (while breaking certain solar energy cell efficiency records.) These new cells are designed to be easily mass produced and, as a consequence, are expected to lose some of their efficiency while still remaining a viable high efficiency product with around thirty nine percent efficiency.

Spectrolab commented during their announcement that the research that went into the creation of their new line of highly efficient solar energy cells is based off their years of experience in using solar cells to power satellites. With half a century of experience working in outer space, many are seeing this new move towards working on solar energy cells here on Earth as Boeing’s way of bringing some space based high technology to the old Terra firma where we can truly reap the benefits of Spectrolab’s results. According to Spectrolab, they believe that by 2011, at the earliest, they will be able to push the envelope on mass produced efficiency and reach over forty percent efficiency on a marketable product.

As Spectrolab begins entering the high efficiency photovoltaic solar energy cell market there has been some word that competitors have been scrambling to beat Spectrolab and create an even higher efficiency product. One of those companies is California based fiber optics company JDS Uniphase who hopes to be able to meet, if not exceed, Spectrolab’s success and offer a similar product on the market sometime soon.

While Boeing continues to make waves in the solar energy community, whether with perpetual flight solar power aircraft or high efficiency solar cells, it is nice to see that they are able to make a difference. While the new cells are likely to be expensive, it is believed that the fact that they will be able to work at a much higher rate than normal solar cells will balance out the cost.

Photo Credit: Spectrolab