Jun 28, 2016

Sunpower breaks another solar cell efficiency record

1 min
California’s SunPower has once again shattered the record for the world’s most efficient rooftop solar module — this time with a si...

California’s SunPower has once again shattered the record for the world’s most efficient rooftop solar module — this time with a silicon module capable of converting 24.1 percent of the sunlight that it receives into electricity.

Earlier this year, the Silicon Valley company edged past competitors like SolarCity and Panasonic to create a cell with 22.8 percent efficiency. SunPower’s latest achievement has been verified by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), which evaluates renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies and maintains the industry’s chart of records.

The new model of solar cell was made using laboratory cells boasting 25 percent mean efficiency and builds on the architecture of SunPower's commercially available SunPower X-Series home solar panel.

"With greater efficiency, we can fit more watts on the roof with the outstanding reliability of the SunPower X-Series solar panel," said Peter Cousins, SunPower Senior Vice President, Research, Development and Deployment.

The company has also been working on improving the appearance of its panels in an attempt to make them more attractive to customers.

"SunPower's world record efficiency panels offer customers the best value for energy and superior aesthetics due to our unique architecture," said Cousins. 

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May 18, 2021

Toyota unveils electric van and Volvo opens fuel cell lab

Dominic Ellis
2 min
Toyota's Proace Electric medium-duty panel van is being launched across Europe as Volvo opens its first fuel cell test lab

Toyota is launching its first zero emission battery electric vehicle, the Proace Electric medium-duty panel van, across Europe.

The model, which offers a choice of 50 or 75kWh lithium-ion batteries with range of up to 205 miles, is being rolled out in the UK, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Sweden.

At present, alternative fuel vehicles (AFVs, including battery electric vehicles) account for only a fraction – around 1.8 per cent – of new light commercial van sales in the UK, but a number of factors are accelerating demand for practical alternatives to vans with conventional internal combustion engines.

Low and zero emission zones are coming into force to reduce local pollution and improve air quality in urban centres, at the same time as rapid growth in ecommerce is generating more day-to-day delivery traffic.

Meanwhile the opening of Volvo's first dedicated fuel cell test lab in Volvo Group, marks a significant milestone in the manufacturer’s ambition to be fossil-free by 2040.

Fuel cells work by combining hydrogen with oxygen, with the resulting chemical reaction producing electricity. The process is completely emission-free, with water vapour being the only by-product.

Toni Hagelberg, Head of Sustainable Power at Volvo CE, says fuel cell technology is a key enabler of sustainable solutions for heavier construction machines, and this investment provides another vital tool in its work to reach targets.

"The lab will also serve Volvo Group globally, as it’s the first to offer this kind of advanced testing," he said.

The Fuel Cell Test Lab is a demonstration of the same dedication to hydrogen fuel cell technology, as the recent launch of cell centric, a joint venture by Volvo Group and Daimler Truck to accelerate the development, production and commercialization of fuel cell solutions within long-haul trucking and beyond. Both form a key part of the Group’s overall ambition to be 100% fossil free by 2040.

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