High-Temperature Dual-Junction Topping Cells

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New Haven, Connecticut
Project Term:
07/15/2014 - 12/31/2017

Technology Description:

Yale University is developing a dual-junction solar cell that can operate efficiently at temperatures above 400 °C, unlike today’s solar cells, which lose efficiency rapidly above 100°C and are likely to fail at high temperatures over time. Yale’s specialized dual-junction design will allow the cell to extract significantly more energy from the sun at high temperature than today’s cells, enabling the next generation of hybrid solar converters to deliver much higher quantities of electricity and highly useful dispatchable heat. Heat rejected from the cells at high temperature can be stored and used to generate electricity with a heat engine much more effectively than cells producing heat at lower temperatures. Therefore, electricity can be produced at higher overall efficiency for use even when the sun is not shining.

Potential Impact:

If successful, Yale University’s high-temperature solar cells could be used in the next generation of hybrid solar converters, enabling more efficient utilization of the full solar spectrum than possible with either photovoltaic or concentrated solar power independently.


Developing new hybrid solar systems that generate both electricity and dispatchable heat at the same time could provide domestically-sourced power at costs comparable to traditional sources, whether or not the sun is shining.


Replacing energy systems powered by fossil fuels would provide an immediate decrease in greenhouse gas emissions, 40% of which come from electricity generation today.


Cost-effective, dispatchable solar energy alternatives would stabilize electricity rates for consumers as the penetration of renewable energy increases in the coming years.


ARPA-E Program Director:
Dr. Michael Haney
Project Contact:
Prof. Minjoo Lee
Press and General Inquiries Email:
Project Contact Email:


National Renewable Energy Laboratory
Emcore Corporation

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