A new innovation from a solar energy start up could make photovoltaic cells across the country more efficient. These types of cells, called multijunction cells, achieve those higher conversion rates by using different materials than the traditional silicon cell and multiple semiconductors within a single package. During manufacturing, there are multiple layers of material deposited onto a gallium arsenide substrate, with each layer optimized to convert a different portion of the sunlight’s spectrum.

Solar Junction will begin production of new, highly efficient solar power cells within the next year, according to a report from CNet. What separates these cells from others is that they can be nearly three times more efficient than current photovoltaic systems because they use mirrors and lenses to concentrate the sun’s light onto smaller cells.

Solar Junction cells are designed to be fitted into concentrating photovoltaic (CPV) solar collectors. Originally used in space, CPV systems concentrate the light hundreds of times using mirrors and lenses onto a small but relatively efficiency solar cell. They are typically mounted on racks to follow the sun in desert areas and are used for installations up to 50 megawatts.
The company’s new cell multijunction was spun out of Stanford University, said last month that the National Renewable Energy Laboratory certified to operate at 41.4 percent efficiency, the report said. Current silicon solar cells are more likely to fall between 15 and 20 percent efficiency.