Nanoflex Power Corp. which has been funding solar research for over 20 years and has recently found a way to reuse an original GaAs wafer an unlimited number of times to produce thin film GaAs solar cells at an ultra low cost (a few hundred $'s each rather than several thousand$'s); Those efficiencies are in the high 20% range and they could go a bit higher using simple low cost concentrators! Several companies are working with them to bring this to market. Looks like research is paying off and we will have lower cost clean energy in our lifetimes.
If anyone would like to know more about the science behind this story, we've set the original research article as free to access; you can find it here: http://www.materialsviews.com/matview/display/en/1412/TEXT
IBM needs to do some research... market research. Run of the mill monocrystalline is regularly hitting 19%. High end, is hitting 23% and that is in production. Multijunction are 30%+ in the lab ... these are all one sun number. CIGS is currently 13.5% in near production ready and by the time this gets to 11% I would expect production CIGS to be in the 14-15% range.
IBM says that its new ultra-cheap thin-film solar cell formulation could someday result in efficiencies as high as 20 percent, which is as high as ultra-expensive GaAs solar cells for space apps. Is 10-to-20 percent high enough to knock silicon and gallium arsenide out of the running?