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Early Access articles are new content made available in advance of the final electronic or print versions and result from IEEE's Preprint or Rapid Post processes. Preprint articles are peer-reviewed but not fully edited. Rapid Post articles are peer-reviewed and edited but not paginated. Both these types of Early Access articles are fully citable from the moment they appear in IEEE Xplore.

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Displaying Results 1 - 22 of 22
  • Can a Hot-Carrier Solar Cell also be an Efficient Up-converter?

    Page(s): 1 - 6
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (938 KB)  

    The hot-carrier solar cell is a very ambitious device concept, which has a thermodynamic efficiency limit of around 84% when operated at the maximum power point. However, if the same device is instead operated at open circuit, then it becomes an efficient radiator of blackbody radiation at the temperature of the hot carriers. Such a configuration is similar to a thermal photovoltaic converter, but one in which the thermal gradient is maintained by a hot electron–hole gas rather than by a physically hot lattice. In this scheme (see Fig. 1), a low-bandgap hot-carrier material is placed behind a conventional solar cell and absorbs sub-bandgap photons, generating a hot-carrier distribution which re-radiates this energy, some of which can be collected by the solar cell located above. The additional photons have been thermally up-converted by a “hot-carrier radiator.” We will discuss the thermodynamic efficiency limit of a hot-carrier radiator placed behind a conventional single-junction solar cell, and present some experimental results toward developing a proof-of-concept device using strain-balanced quantum wells. View full abstract»

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  • A Systematic Loss Analysis Method for Rear-Passivated Silicon Solar Cells

    Page(s): 1 - 8
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (531 KB)  

    By combining commonly available solar cell characterization methods with easy-to-prepare test structures and partially processed rear-passivated solar cells from the production line, we show that various cell loss mechanisms can be quantified in exquisite detail to generate process-related diagnostics. An example monocrystalline silicon localized back surface field solar cell type is examined using a systematic routine that breaks down the factors limiting open-circuit voltage, short-circuit current, and fill factor (FF) to identify the cell structure's headroom for improvement. View full abstract»

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  • Optimizing Folded Silicon Thin-Film Solar Cells on ZnO Honeycomb Electrodes

    Page(s): 1 - 8
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (764 KB)  

    A promising approach for low-cost nanostructured thin-film solar cells with enhanced absorption is the fabrication of zinc oxide (ZnO) honeycomb electrodes in a combined bottom-up process of nanosphere lithography and electrochemical deposition. To optimize the honeycomb structures, we investigate thin hydrogenated amorphous silicon (a-Si:H) solar cells (with 100 nm absorber thickness) on honeycomb electrodes with different periodicities in optical and electrical simulations; whereas the electrical performance is not significantly affected with changing periodicity, the short-circuit current density is reduced for increasing honeycomb diameter due to increased parasitic absorption of the electrochemically deposited ZnO. Furthermore, we demonstrate that for micromorph tandem solar cells with an intrinsic layer thickness of hydrogenated microcrystalline silicon (μc-Si:H) of >500 nm, a focusing effect occurs, which leads to a strong enhancement in the quantum efficiency in the microcrystalline bottom solar cell. View full abstract»

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  • Analysis of Fine-Line Screen and Stencil-Printed Metal Contacts for Silicon Wafer Solar Cells

    Page(s): 1 - 9
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (859 KB)  

    Primary challenges to fine-line silver printing for solar cells are achieving high aspect ratios and uniform lines with a low level of striations. This paper compares two high-throughput printing technologies, namely, printing by screens versus stencils. A statistical method is introduced to evaluate the quality of the printed front grid based on the distributions of printed metal line profiles, line segment conductance, overall electroluminescence (EL) pattern, and solar cell light current–voltage (I–V) characteristics. The model distribution, combined with finite-element modeling to predict realistic cell-level voltage variations, adequately describes all four kinds of characteristics. It predicts well the diverging performance of screen- and stencil-printed solar cells as the line width becomes less than 50 μm. Experimentally, the highest batch average efficiency of 18.8% was achieved on 156 mm × 156 mm p-type monocrystalline silicon solar cells printed with stencils having 30-μm line openings, using only 78 mg of silver paste per cell. View full abstract»

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  • Recovery After Potential-Induced Degradation of CuIn _{{\bf 1}-{bm x}} Ga _{bm x} Se _{\bf 2} Solar Cells With CdS and Zn(O,S) Buffer Layers

    Page(s): 1 - 6
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (458 KB)  

    This study deals with potential-induced degradation (PID) of Cu(In,Ga)Se _{\bf 2} -based solar cells and different approaches to subsequent recovery of efficiency. Three different recovery methods were studied: 1) etch recovery, 2) accelerated recovery, and 3) unaccelerated recovery. After being completely degraded, the solar cells with CdS buffer layers recovered their efficiencies at different rates, depending on the method which was used. On the other hand, if Zn(O,S) was used as a buffer layer instead of CdS, the recovery rate was close to zero. The buffer layer type clearly influenced the sodium distribution during PID stressing and recovery, as well as the possibilities for recovery of the electrical performance. View full abstract»

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  • Ion Implantation for Poly-Si Passivated Back-Junction Back-Contacted Solar Cells

    Page(s): 1 - 8
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (844 KB)  

    We study ion implantation for patterned doping of back-junction back-contacted solar cells with polycrystalline–monocrystalline Si junctions. In particular, we investigate the concept of counterdoping, that is, a process of first implanting a blanket emitter and afterward locally overcompensating the emitter by applying masked ion implantation for the back surface field (BSF) species. On planar test structures with blanket implants, we measure saturation current densities {bm J}_{{\bf 0, poly}} of down to {\bf 1.0} \pm {\bf 1.1}, {\bf fA/cm}^{\bf 2} for wafers passivated with phosphorus-implanted poly-Si layers and {\bf 4.4} \pm {\bf 1.1}, {\bf fA/cm}^{\bf 2} for wafers passivated with boron-implanted poly-Si layers. The corresponding implied pseudofill factors {bm pFF}_{{\rm i\mpl.}} are 87.3% and 84.6%, respectively. Test structures fabricated with the counterdoping process applied on a full area also exhibit excellent recombination behavior ( {bm J}_{{\bf 0},{\bf poly}} = {\bf 0.9} \pm {\bf 1.1}, {\bf fA/cm}^{\bf 2} , {bm pFF}_{{\bf i\mpl}.} = 84.7 %). By contrast, the samples with patterned counterdoped regions exhibit a far worse recombination behavior dominated by a recombination mechanism with an ideality factor {bm n} > {\bf 1} . A comparison with the blanket-implanted test structures points to recombination in the space charge region inside the highly defective poly-Si layer. Consequently, we suggest introducing an undoped region between emitter and BSF in order to avoid the formation of {bm p}^{+}/{bm n}^{+} junctions in poly-Si. View full abstract»

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  • Designing Bottom Silicon Solar Cells for Multijunction Devices

    Page(s): 1 - 8
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (5605 KB)  

    We report on efforts to design high-efficiency silicon homojunction subcells for use in multijunction stack devices. Both simulation and experimental works have been performed looking at a silicon solar cell under a truncated spectrum below 1.5 eV filtered by the upper layers in the multijunction stack. Good agreement is seen between the modeling and experimental results, identifying different emitter design requirements when the solar cell operates under a full or truncated spectrum. A well-passivated front surface, i.e., with low-interface surface recombination velocity, required a lightly doped emitter profile to maximize open-circuit voltage ( V_{{\rm OC}} ), while a high-interface recombination surface requires a heavily doped for higher V_{{\rm OC}} values. The impact on short-circuit current density ( J_{{\rm SC}} ) is found to be minimal, even with large variations in the interface recombination and emitter profiles. In a tandem stack, an interface with low- and high-interface recombination velocities would require lightly doped and intermediate-doped emitters, respectively, for maximum conversion efficiency (η). View full abstract»

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  • Applications of Electron Channeling Contrast Imaging for the Rapid Characterization of Extended Defects in III–V/Si Heterostructures

    Page(s): 1 - 7
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (955 KB)  

    Electron channeling contrast imaging (ECCI) is a nondestructive diffraction-based scanning electron microscopy (SEM) technique that can provide microstructural analysis similar to transmission electron microscopy (TEM). However, because ECCI is performed within an SEM and requires little to no sample preparation, such analysis can be accomplished in a fraction of the time. Like TEM, ECCI can be used to image a variety of extended defects and enables the use of standard invisibility criteria to provide further defect characterization (e.g., Burgers vector determination). Here, we use ECCI to characterize various extended defects, including threading dislocations, misfit dislocations, and stacking faults, in heteroepitaxial GaP/Si(1 0 0) samples. We also present applications for which ECCI is particularly well suited compared with conventional methods. First, misfit dislocations are surveyed via ECCI across the radius of a 4-in GaP/Si wafer, yielding a proof-of-concept rapid (∼3 h) approach to large-area defect characterization. Second, by simply wet etching away a portion of a thick epitaxial GaP-on-Si layer, we use ECCI to image specific targeted interfaces within a heterostructure. Both of these applications are prime examples of how ECCI is a compelling alternative to TEM in circumstances where the required sample preparation would be prohibitively time-consuming or difficult. View full abstract»

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  • Short-Circuit Current Density Imaging Via PL Image Evaluation Based on Implied Voltage Distribution

    Page(s): 1 - 6
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (665 KB)  

    Luminescence imaging has found wide application for the characterization of silicon solar cells and wafers over the past decade. One special application is based on a combination of electroluminescence and photoluminescence imaging. Images of a single solar cell at different operating conditions are taken. With suitable methods, it is possible to evaluate the image series and extract spatially resolved solar cell parameters. In the past, methods have been introduced focusing on the extraction of local dark saturation current density and local series resistance. Past methods usually assumed a laterally homogeneous short-circuit current density corresponding to laterally homogeneous external quantum efficiency. In this study, we give a step-by-step description of a newly developed method, which does not rely on the assumption of homogeneous short-circuit current density. The evaluation method instead additionally yields an image of the local short-circuit current density or of the external quantum efficiency. We apply the method to different solar cell types, and we give a detailed comparison to its predecessor the “coupled determination of dark saturation current density and series resistance” method. We compare the short-circuit current density images with images obtained from the “light beam-induced current” technique. View full abstract»

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  • Different Bandgaps in Cu _2 ZnSnSe _4 : A High Temperature Coevaporation Study

    Page(s): 1 - 8
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (493 KB)  

    We present a high-temperature Cu _2 ZnSnSe _4 coevaporation study, where solar cells with a power conversion efficiency of 7.1% have been achieved. The process is monitored with laser light scattering in order to follow the incorporation of the Sn into the film. We observe the segregation of ZnSe at the Mo/CZTSe interface. Optical analysis has been carried out with photoluminescence and spectrophotometry. We observe strong band tailing and a bandgap, which is significantly lower than in other reported efficient CZTSe absorbers. The photoluminescence at room temperature is lower than the bandgap due to the existence of a large quantity of tail states. Finally, we present effects of low-temperature postannealing of the absorbers on ordering of the Cu/Zn atoms in CZTSe and solar cell parameters. We observe strong changes in all solar cell parameters upon annealing. The efficiency of the annealed devices is significantly reduced, although ordering is improved compared with ones made from nonannealed absorbers. View full abstract»

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  • Ultrathin GaAs Solar Cells With a Silver Back Mirror

    Page(s): 1 - 6
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (3385 KB)  

    We report on the fabrication and characterization of ultrathin GaAs solar cells with a silver back mirror and absorber thicknesses of only {bm t} = {\bf 120} nm and {bm t} = {\bf 220} nm. The silver back mirror is combined with localized ohmic contacts. Without antireflection coating, Fabry–Perot resonances lead to strong enhancement over single-pass absorption (up to 4), and external quantum efficiency reaches 0.8 at resonance wavelengths. An analytical model is used to determine the resonance wavelengths and the absorption maxima. A short-circuit improvement of 27% results from the enhanced absorption induced by the Fabry-Perot resonances. By implementing an additional antireflection coating, short-circuit currents reach 16.3 mA/cm2 for {bm t} = {\bf 120} nm and 20.7 mA/cm2 for {bm t} = {\bf 220} nm, corresponding to efficiencies of 8.7 % and 12.9 %, respectively. View full abstract»

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  • Dynamics of Photovoltaic-Generator-Interfacing Voltage-Controlled Buck Power Stage

    Page(s): 1 - 8
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (3774 KB)  

    This paper investigates the dynamic properties of the photovoltaic-generator-interfacing voltage-controlled buck power stage operating in both the maximum and limited power point tracking modes. The photovoltaic generator (PVG) is known to possess both current- and voltage-source properties with respect to its maximum power point. While voltage-fed operation is conventional, current-fed action is nontrivial and is thoroughly analyzed in this paper. The photovoltaic-generator-interfacing converter is formed by adding a capacitor at conventional voltage-fed converter input terminals, turning it into a current-fed power stage. During the maximum power point tracking phase, converter input voltage is regulated, possessing nontrivial dynamics. The situation is burdened further when output-voltage control should be alternatively realized to limit the voltage of the converter terminating the energy storage element. It is shown that both the photovoltaic generator and the terminating energy storage greatly affect the combined system dynamics. Parallel as well as cascaded control arrangements are proposed to support dual-mode system operation. Extended experimental results are shown to enforce presented theory and reveal nontrivial dynamics-related issues. View full abstract»

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  • Cu(In,Ga)Se _{\bf 2} Thin-Film Solar Cells and Modules—A Boost in Efficiency Due to Potassium

    Page(s): 1 - 8
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (1844 KB)  

    Thin-film solar cells based on the chalcopyrite Cu(In,Ga)Se ^2 (CIGS) absorber material show high potential for further cost reduction in photovoltaics. Compared with polycrystalline silicon (p-Si) wafer technology, thin-film technology has inherent advantages due to lower energy and material consumption during production but has typically shown lower conversion efficiency. However, in the past two years, new scientific insights have enabled the processing of CIGS solar cells with efficiencies up to 21%, surpassing the p-Si wafer value of 20.4% efficiency for the first time. Now several research groups report record cell efficiency values above 20% using different deposition processes and buffer layers. The presence of potassium was observed in many CIGS devices over the years, but it is only very recently that differences with Na have started being taken into full consideration for device processing and that K was added intentionally to the absorber. In this study, previous reports showing the presence of potassium are reviewed and discussed in more detail. Furthermore, on a scale-up perspective, additional progress has also taken place with CIGS minimodules achieving efficiency up to almost 19% and where further increase can be expected in the near future with the improvements induced by the use of potassium. This shows that the CIGS technology is continuously progressing not only on scientific level but on technological level as well. View full abstract»

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  • Potential Gain in Multicrystalline Silicon Solar Cell Efficiency by n-Type Doping

    Page(s): 1 - 8
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (5243 KB)  

    This study aims for a quantitative investigation of the material limitations and the efficiency potential of an entire multicrystalline (mc) n-type silicon block in comparison with an mc p-type block of the same purity level in order to predict the potential of mc n-type silicon for the industrial production of solar cells. Therefore, two standard mc silicon blocks were crystallized under identical conditions (same high purity feedstock, crucible system, and temperature profiles), only differing in their type of doping. The material quality of wafers along the whole block height is analyzed after different solar cell process steps by photoluminescence imaging of the diffusion length. The bulk recombination related efficiency losses are assessed by an “efficiency limiting bulk recombination analysis (ELBA),” combining injection dependent lifetime images with PC1D cell simulations. The influence of the base resistivity variation along the block is considered in the PC1D cell simulations and backed up by Sentaurus Device simulations. This analysis predicts a significantly higher material-related efficiency potential after typical solar cell processes along the whole block height for mc n-type silicon compared with mc p-type silicon. In addition, the efficiency potential for mc n-type silicon depends less on block position. View full abstract»

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  • Influence of Annealing and Bulk Hydrogenation on Lifetime-Limiting Defects in Nitrogen-Doped Floating Zone Silicon

    Page(s): 1 - 4
    Save to Project icon | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (451 KB)  

    A recombination active defect is found in as-grown high-purity floating zone n-type silicon wafers containing grown-in nitrogen. In order to identify the properties of the defect, injection-dependent minority carrier lifetime measurements, secondary ion mass spectroscopy measurements, and photoluminescence lifetime imaging are performed. The lateral recombination center distribution varies greatly in a radially symmetric way, while the nitrogen concentration remains constant. The defect is shown to be deactivated through high temperature annealing and hydrogenation. We suggest that a nitrogen-intrinsic point defect complex may be responsible for the observed recombination. View full abstract»

    Open Access
  • Investigation of Properties Limiting Efficiency in Cu ^2 ZnSnSe ^4 -Based Solar Cells

    Page(s): 1 - 7
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (773 KB)  

    We have investigated different nonidealities in Cu 2 ZnSnSe 4 –CdS–ZnO solar cells with 9.7% conversion efficiency, in order to determine what is limiting the efficiency of these devices. Several nonidealities could be observed. A barrier of about 300 meV is present for electron flow at the absorber–buffer heterojunction leading to a strong crossover behavior between dark and illuminated current–voltage curves. In addition, a barrier of about 130 meV is present at the Mo–absorber contact, which could be reduced to 15 meV by inclusion of a TiN interlayer. Admittance spectroscopy results on the devices with the TiN backside contact show a defect level with an activation energy of 170 meV. Using all parameters extracted by the different characterization methods for simulations of the two-diode model including injection and recombination currents, we come to the conclusion that our devices are limited by the large recombination current in the depletion region. Potential fluctuations are present in the devices as well, but they do not seem to have a special degrading effect on the devices, besides a probable reduction in minority carrier lifetime through enhanced recombination through the band tail defects. View full abstract»

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  • Validated Method for Repeatable Power Measurement of CIGS Modules Exhibiting Light-Induced Metastabilities

    Page(s): 1 - 6
    Multimedia
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (415 KB)  

    We report on the validation of a stabilization procedure designed to minimize variations in repeated power measurements at standard test conditions caused by transient light-induced metastabilities in copper indium gallium diselenide (CIGS) modules. Such metastable effects frustrate the repeatable and accurate measurement of a module's performance in the electrical state to which it stabilizes under normal operation outdoors. The procedure studied here is based on a light exposure followed by forward electrical bias as the module cools to the measurement temperature. The procedure was tested in a lab-to-lab intercomparison involving five different labs. Results show that the procedure is effective in yielding repeatable measurements and that the variations due to metastabilities are of roughly the same magnitude as those associated with variations in illumination conditions between different flash simulators. We also find that temperature-corrected measurements made immediately upon completion of the light exposure are less repeatable than those made after the module has cooled to 25°C under bias. View full abstract»

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  • Oxygen-Controlled Seed Layer in DC Sputter-Deposited ZnO:Al Substrate for Si Thin-Film Solar Cells

    Page(s): 1 - 6
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (751 KB)  

    Oxygen-controlled seed layer in Al-doped ZnO (ZnO:Al) thin films deposited by the industrially compatible dynamic dc magnetron sputter results in both enhanced electron mobilities and appropriate etched morphologies for the Si thin-film solar cells. At the relatively low deposition temperature of 300 °C, optimized ZnO:Al film grown on the seed layer has the carrier mobility of 45 cm2/V·s and proper postetching morphology with around 1–2-μm crater size. Reduced angular distribution of the (002) grains analyzed by the diffraction rocking curve is shown as the key structural feature for the improved carrier mobility. Finally, the performance of the microcrystalline Si solar cell on the developed ZnO:Al substrate shows high-efficiency potential of the tandem solar cell adapting this transparent conductive oxide substrate. View full abstract»

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  • 3-D Simulation and Optimization of Organic Solar Cell With Periodic Back Contact Grating Electrode

    Page(s): 1 - 6
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (491 KB)  

    In this paper, we report an investigation of the optical and electrical properties of an organic solar cell (OSC) with a back contact grating architecture through 3-D numerical simulations. By using finite-element methods for both optical and transport properties, we have modeled the behavior of OSC with a grating architecture and compared with a conventional planar structure. Based on these optoelectrical simulations, we optimized the back contact grating, obtaining an increment of up to 17.5% in power conversion efficiency with respect to a planar structured OSC. This enhancement is the result of an increase of both short-circuit current and fill factor. View full abstract»

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  • A Light-trapping Metric for Solar Cells With Application to Cadmium Telluride and Silicon

    Page(s): 01 - 8
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (1269 KB)  

    We examine an enhancement metric for characterizing light trapping in single-junction solar cells by comparing the measured quantum efficiency spectrum and the theoretical absorptance spectrum based on ergodic light scattering. This ideal enhancement is 4n2, where n is the refractive index of the absorber layer. Using a uniform procedure, we have determined the effective enhancement from published results for many single-junction nanocrystalline, polycrystalline, and monocrystalline silicon cells, as well as for thin-film cadmium telluride (CdTe)-based cells. The largest effective enhancements were 33 for monocrystalline Si, 25 for nanocrystalline Si, and 10 for CdTe. The 4n2 benchmarks are about 50 for Si and 36 for CdTe; for CdTe, 4n2 light trapping adds about 1 mA/cm2 to the photocurrent density of a 3-μm cell. We propose a procedure that separates the effects of parasitic absorption from incomplete scattering in determining the enhancement and show that the champion enhancement of 33 for silicon was mostly limited by parasitic absorption and not by inadequate scattering. View full abstract»

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  • Supply-Chain Dynamics of Tellurium, Indium, and Gallium Within the Context of PV Module Manufacturing Costs

    Page(s): 1 - 5
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (351 KB)  

    Given the need for humankind to implement more sustainable energy choices, it is crucial for energy systems such as photovoltaics (PV) to demonstrate success both soon and over the long-term quest. To that end, both the crystalline silicon and thin-film technologies have made, and continue to make, remarkable strides toward providing solutions that are quickly becoming more competitive against the traditional sources for power generation. But, within the thin-film segment of this industry the highest demonstrated sunlight power conversion efficiencies have thus far come from technologies that contain relatively rare constituent elements. These include tellurium in cadmium telluride; and indium and/or gallium in the copper indium diselenide/copper indium gallium diselenide technologies, as well as the III--V families of technologies. In this paper, we show that the current global supply base for these three energy-critical elements is not sufficient for enabling energy-significant levels of deployment, but also show that each of the thin-film PV technologies that we describe has the ability to absorb an increase in the price for each constituent element(s). This ability then leads to the possibility that the supply base for each element can be augmented. View full abstract»

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Aims & Scope

The IEEE Journal of Photovoltaics is a peer-reviewed, archival publication reporting original and significant research results that advance the field of photovoltaics (PV).

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Meet Our Editors

Editor-in-Chief
Timothy J. Anderson
Chemical Engineering Department
University of Florida