Professor Kylie Catchpole and Dr The Duong developed what are called tandem solar cells by stacking a perovskite solar cell on top of a silicon cell.
The former is a new type of solar cell that uses both organic and inorganic materials in a custom-built structure to improve the absorption of light.
It can react to different wavelengths of light and harness the sun's energy much better than silicon cells which are made from inorganic materals and are limited to absorbing red light.
"In comparison, typical solar panels being installed on rooftops at the moment have an efficiency of about 20%," Prof Catchpole said.
She pointed out that while silicon solar cells dominated the market, their efficiency would reach a limit in the next five to 10 years.
"This result demonstrates the potential of tandem solar cells. They can make better use of certain parts of the solar spectrum - for example high energy blue photons," Prof Catchpole said.
"This will lead to more efficient and more cost-effective solar cells and solar energy sources."
Dr Duong said: "The International Technology Roadmap for Photovoltaics predicts tandem solar cells will appear in mass production in 2023, so we're very close.
"This new efficiency result will help to improve the commercial competitiveness of this technology.
"It's exciting to think that a new technology that has the potential to benefit the entire planet is being developed here in Canberra."
The research was supported by ARENA through the Australian Centre for Advanced Photovoltaics and published in Advanced Energy Materials.