Today, the world is grappling with more than just the climate crisis, and yet even now, in the face of a global pandemic, scientists are marching on with renewable solutions.

Just this month, no less than three records have been broken in solar panel efficiency. The first and the second were achieved by scientists in the United States at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).

Their unique "six-junction" solar cell has unprecedented energy conversion, turning intensified light into electricity at 47.1 percent efficiency - the most efficient in the world under concentrated light conditions. This record beat the previous contender established just a couple of years ago by one percent.

"This device really demonstrates the extraordinary potential of multijunction solar cells," says John Geisz who works at NREL.
在国家可再生能源实验室工作的John Geisz说:“这个设备真的展示了多结太阳能电池的非凡潜力。”

The achievement was helped by concentrating sunlight until it was a sizzling 143 times more intense. But even under the illumination of a single Sun, the solar cell is better than any other.

This is the second record broken - the team tested another version of their six-junction cell without concentrating the light, and achieved an unprecedented 39.2 percent efficiency.

Essentially this means that even more of the Sun's energy can now be converted into electricity.

The third record broken this month, for instance, was achieved by something called a tandem cell. This is a device, only a few micrometres thick, that combines two different semiconductors, one for the visible parts of the light spectrum and the other for infrared light.

Engineers from the German research centre Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin created a new kind of tandem cell made from stacked silicon and perovskite with a certified efficiency of 24.16 percent.