University of New South Wales researchers announced they converted more than 40 percent of sunlight hitting a solar system into electricity, the highest efficiency ever reported.

On Monday, University of New South Wales researchers announced they were able to convert more than 40 percent of sunlight hitting a solar panel system into electricity.

“This is the highest efficiency ever reported for sunlight conversion into electricity,” Professor Martin Green said on UNSW’s website.  

The record efficiency was achieved in tests in Sydney, before being independently confirmed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) at their test facility in the U.S., UNSW’s website explained.

Why is this is huge deal? It turns out that traditional solar methods only achieve 33 percent efficiency, according to AFP, so UNSW’s system gets more bang for your solar buck. But how did they manage to boost their numbers?

 “We used commercial solar cells, but in a new way, so these efficiency improvements are readily accessible to the solar industry,” Dr. Mark Keevers explained on UNSW’s site. Dr. Keevers, a UNSW solar scientist, managed the project.

What’s next? Green hopes their new method can eventually be used on people’s homes.

“The panels that you have on the roof of your home, at the moment they just have a single cell but eventually they'll have several different cells... and they'll be able to improve their efficiency to this kind of level,” Green told AFP.

 Top photo courtesy of RayGen Resources