Super-efficient solar power technology.
For decades, scientists have sought to improve the efficiency of solar power technology. Today, silicon cells generally convert less than 15 percent of the sun's energy into electricity, according to Keith Emery, a research engineer with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). But a new kind of photovoltaic (PV) cell promises to be even more efficient. Conceived and designed at NREL, Boeing-Spectrolab is now manufacturing record-breaking PV cells that can convert more than 40 percent of the solar radiation striking them into electricity.