Richmond-based company breaks world record for efficient solar panels

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Fortune: Richmond-based company breaks world record for efficient solar panels

Richmond-based SunPower claims it can make a solar panel “that can convert 22.8-percent of the sunlight that hits it into electricity,” which is a world record, Fortune magazine reported Monday.

By comparison, conventional solar panels of similar size range from 15 to 18 percent.

SunPower, located at the former Ford Assembly Plant at 1414 Harbour Way South in Richmond, published a statement on its world record-topping feat here. It says its 22.8-percent solar panel was verified by the federal National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

Solar companies are in a heated competition to boost the efficiency of their panels, according to Fortune.

In the two-year-old photo, courtesy of SunPower, a NASA polar rover powered by SunPower panels demonstrated that it can operate autonomously in harsh conditions in Greenland, defying 30 mph winds and temps below 22F.

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