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TOWARDS A 50% EFFICIENT CONCENTRATOR SOLAR CELL AND A 40% EFFICIENT SPACE SOLAR CELL

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - PVFIFTY (TOWARDS A 50% EFFICIENT CONCENTRATOR SOLAR CELL AND A 40% EFFICIENT SPACE SOLAR CELL)

Reporting period: 2015-05-01 to 2017-04-30

The purpose of the project was to research and develop a range of technologies, each aimed at improving the efficiency of solar-energy converters. Specifically, the project aimed at developing materials, devices and optics to allow solar energy converters to reach 50% efficiency. The project included sun-to-electricity converters, sun-to-heat converters, and hybrid converters which generate both electricity and heat. Some of the developed technologies are specifically aimed at terrestrial energy generation for homes and businesses. The societal importance of this is to reduce greenhouse gas emission, and improve energy access and security. Some technologies aimed at generating power for space vehicles. The societal importance of this is to improve and reduce the cost of satellite telecommunications, and to increase the range of space exploration missions. Some technologies had both terrestrial and space applications.
1. The composite semiconductor GaAsBi was investigated as a possible candidate for high-efficiency solar cells. Solar cells and other test structures were fabricated from this material allowing us to do material and device research and understand the promise and limitations of this material. This material is a candidate for solar cells that may reach 50% efficiency in the near future.

2. A novel solar cell design was developed that will allow space solar cells to have much longer lifetimes, allowing for longer space missions.

3. Coatings were developed for hybrid solar collectors that generate both electricity and useful heat. The coating allows the collectors to have efficiencies well in excess of 50%, whilst delivering fluid the temperatures required for domestic heating and domestic hot water.
1. The GaAsBi work is ongoing and more effort is required before this material can be incorporated into multi-junction solar cells with good results.
2. The light trapping structure is a completely novel invention and has the potential to significantly change the limitations on space flights. Further work is required to develop prototypes.
3. The coatings have been demonstrated to improve the efficiency of solar collectors and are presently being incorporated into a collector for commercialization.
Solar Collector with spectrally selective coating for improved performance