Engineers at the University of New South Wales have set a new record for the amount of solar energy obtained from direct, unfocused sunlight on a solar cell.

Dr Mark Keevers and Professor Martin Green achieved 34.5% sunlight-to-electricity conversion efficiency.  The previous record was 24%.

The record was achieved with a 28 centimeter-square, four-junction mini-module embedded in a prism. This configuration allowed the sun’s rays to be split into four bands so that a higher amount of energy can be extracted from each beam.

In 2014, the same team reached a higher level of efficiency of 40% conversion of sunlight to electricity using mirrored concentrators. The new record is the highest level ever achieved without the use of concentrators.