Epir Technologies creates higher-efficiency solar panels The domestic solar industry has heated up in recent months as President Obama has urged both consumers and businesses to adopt clean energy sources as a means of creating jobs and offsetting carbon emissions; a solar company based in Illinois recently announced that it has produced solar cells that are more efficient than current models and could help spur installations.

Epir Technologies said this week that it succeeded in developing solar modules on commercial glass from polycrystalline cadmium telluride; essentially, these new solar panels can turn sunlight into energy with a greater degree of efficiency than solar panels currently on the market. Arizona- based First Solar is currently the market leader in its production of CdTe panels, but it faces growing competition from companies domestically and abroad. 

In recent tests the company has conducted, their newest solar panels demonstrated a maximum efficiency rate of 15.2 percent; Epir's testing was supervised by the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory, which corroborated the company's findings.

The technological "achievement elevates Epir to the very small group of solar companies and research facilities that have reproducibly fabricated CdTe solar cells with greater than 15 percent efficiency," the fellow emeritus of the Golden, Colorado-based laboratory, Timothy Coutts, said in a statement.

Epir is but one of a growing number of companies that are looking to develop thin-film solar cells as a less expensive and more efficient alternative to traditional silicon-based solar modules, Bloomberg reports. With their increased efficiency, the solar panel cells could potentially enable owners of solar panel systems to generate more energy in less time.  
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