Energy Solutions

High-efficiency Solar Cells


Sharp began its outer space solar business in 1976 when Japan launched Ume, the country’s first operational space satellite and equipped with Sharp mono-crystalline silicon cells. In 2001, we embarked on triple-junction compound solar cells, a business that continues to this day. More than 180 satellites have been equipped with Sharp solar cells, and dozens of them are still in orbit. In R&D, Sharp compound solar cells have broken the world record for conversion efficiency multiple times.

Our strategy
Sharp’s slogan: “From space to ground”

Outer space has been the main application area for Sharp products so far but we are now looking to enter new markets for mobility, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs; drones), and electric cars (EVs).

Like the field of space, these markets demand high quality, high performance, and long-term reliability.
By leveraging the experience built up in developing space applications, we can provide ideal solutions.

Greenhouse gases Observing SATellite (Photo by JAXA)


Sharp Compound Solar Business wins iF Design Award, Professional Concept

Compound Solar Module for Future Mobility

To solve energy supply problems in a wide range of fields, in addition to widely used silicon solar cells, Sharp has developed solar cells using three technologies: dye-sensitized, perovskite, and compound. Compound solar cells’ benefits include light weight, high efficiency, and the ability to conform to curved surfaces. Sharp already implemented the widespread usage on artificial satellites*1, but also hold high hopes for use in aerospace, EVs, and other applications in the fields of mobility. To this end, Sharp has applied its triple-junction compound solar cell module to conduct demonstration experiments with national research institutes, car makers, and other organizations. This and other efforts have resulted in the achievement of the world’s highest*2 conversion efficiency of 32.65%. The iF Design Award recognizes Sharp’s concrete vision of achieving a net-zero society by visualizing a future in which solar cells are used on vehicles such as stratospheric aircraft and EVs, and in fields such as logistics and robotics, based on a concept “To power all mobility with just solar energy.”

  • *1 Sharp is the only solar cell maker in Japan whose products are authorized by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) for use on artificial satellites. They have been used on many satellites since 1976.
  • *2 As of April 20, 2023, for solar cell modules in the research stage (based on Sharp findings).
Concept video of Sharp’s compound solar modules for future mobility
  • Flexible modules will give this convertible EV a gorgeous design and the occupants an enhanced driving experience

  • Compound solar cells will one day be ubiquitous in powering mobility both on the ground and in the air

  • Compound solar cell technology holds promise for infrastructure across a broad range of fields

  • Stratospheric 5G communication gliders will utilize efficient, lightweight, flexible solar devices to stay in the air indefinitely

  • Self-flying paragliders powered by compound solar cells will transport goods to remote areas in the event of a disaster

  • With insect populations declining due to climate change and pesticide use, tiny flying robots may be needed for organic farming

The iF Design Award was launched in 1953 and is one of the world’s most prestigious product design awards.

See more:

Press release:

iF Design Award page:


For outer space

Triple-junction (InGaP/GaAs/Ge)


  • Outer-space-approved rigid solar cells
  • Conversion efficiency: >29.0%
    (cell, average, BOL, AM0, 25C)
  • Bare cells/CICs (with inter-connector and cover glass)

Triple-junction (InGaP/GaAs/InGaAs)

sheets (glass type)

  • Light weight, flexibility, high efficiency
  • Outer-space-approved flexible cells
  • For high fluence
  • Conversion efficiency: >29.0%
    (sheet, average, BOL, AM0, 25C)
  • Weight: <2.0g/W
  • With by-pass diode
Sheet (Film type)

  • Light weight, flexibility, high efficiency
  • Outer-space-approved flexible cells
  • For standard fluence
  • Conversion efficiency: >29.0%
    (sheet, average, BOL, AM0, 25C)
  • Weight: <2.0g/W
  • With by-pass diode

For the stratosphere

Sheets (Film type)

Sheet module for UAVs flying in the stratosphere. This module is designed to give the best performance in a low-temperature stratospheric environment. And to capture more albedo (sunlight reflection from the earth), it can be designed with a bifacial (double-sided light-receiving) structure.

  • Super lightweight, flexibility, high efficiency, surface smoothness, high reliability
  • For stratospheric environments
  • Weight: 0.28kg/m2
  • With by-pass diode

Type Bifacial
Triple-junction InGaP/GaAs/InGaAs -
Dual-junction InGaP/GaAs Available
Single-junction GaAs Available

Other solutions

We can select the type of the cell according to your needs regarding, for example, cell size, module size, packaging material, and other criteria. For applications requiring high efficiency, flexibility and light weight, our compound solar cells are the optimal solution and will inspire you to come up with new value-creating ideas.

Related products

By-pass diode

Compound solar cells are not as resistant to reverse voltage as silicon cells. We therefore recommend you attach a by-pass diode to each cell.
Since Sharp is also one of the largest by-pass diode manufactures for outer space, we can provide you with the ideal diodes.


For EV

In July 2019, we began public road trials of EVs equipped with high-efficiency solar batteries. These vehicles are equipped with high-performance Sharp solar cells with a conversion efficiency of more than 34%. These trials aim to demonstrate the possibilities for solar-powered cars, such as the potential for charge-less EVs.


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