A new record has been set by a Tandem solar cell developed by Enel Green Power's photovoltaic panel factory, 3Sun, in collaboration with France's Institut National pour l'Énergie Solaire (INES). The innovative technology achieved an efficiency level of 26.5%, surpassing the previous record of 25.8%, which was set in December 2022 by a cell of the same type.
The Tandem cell is made up of two superimposed cells: one is the industrially produced silicon heterojunction (HJT) model, while the other is made of perovskite. This allows the cell to harness both blue and red sunlight wavelengths, improving its efficiency. This technology overcomes the limits of traditional cells, which only use red wavelengths.
3Sun's heterojunction cells had previously set a world record in 2020 with an efficiency level of 24.63% achieved with an industrial and non-experimental cell. By August of the same year, their collaboration with INES enabled them to reach a value of 25%. However, traditional silicon cells have a theoretical efficiency limit of around 28%-29%, while the maximum limit that can be reached in practice is 26%-27%, making these values difficult to achieve.
With Tandem technology, the future of 3Sun looks bright. Their TANGO (iTaliAN pv Giga factOry) project, backed by 118 million euros from the European Innovation Fund for large-scale projects, will allow them to produce solar panels for a total of 3 GW per year, making it the largest factory in Europe for the production of high-performance photovoltaic modules. Starting from 2026, with Tandem cells, they aim to achieve efficiency values of around 30%.
These technological advancements not only represent prestigious firsts but also contribute to a more sustainable electricity generation system. Even a small increase in efficiency leads, over long periods and in large numbers, to far greater production of electricity from solar sources, and therefore reduces the consumption of fossil fuels. Ultimately, manufacturing a more efficient cell favors the energy transition to a more sustainable future.