Semprius Achieves 41 Percent Efficiency

On December 14, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, or NREL, announced that it had confirmed an efficiency rating greater than 41 percent for solar cells made by Durham, North Carolina-based Semprius.

This efficiency rating is calculated on the ability of the low-cost lenses incorporated Semprius’s gallium-arsenide (GaAs) cells to concentrate sunlight (to an intensity of 1,000 suns) on solar cells with a sufficiently wide optical angle to maximize solar insulation and reduce tracker costs.

Apparently Semprius’s inexpensive solar cell manufacturing technology was so tempting that global electronics giant Siemens AG (NYSE: SI) took a 16-percent stake in the company in June. The company will begin manufacture from its North Carolina plant in 2012, producing solar panels in a volume that will reportedly be cost competitive with fossil-fuel technology.

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