Periodic Reporting for period 2 - Uniting PV (Applying silicon solar cell technology to revolutionize the design of thin-film solar cells and enhance their efficiency, cost and stability)
Reporting period: 2018-09-01 to 2020-02-29
- Scientifically, Uniting PV aims to study the practical boundaries of CIGS(e) TF solar cell efficiency.
- Technologically, the project targets to establish a solar cell with: Increased cell efficiency; improved stability and reliability, due to reduced CIGS(e) thickness and passivation layers hindering alkali metal movement; and reduced cost, due to the use of less Ga and In, and industrially viable materials, methods and equipment.
Hence, its outcome will be (up)scalable, valuable for other TF PV materials, and start a new wave of innovation in and collaboration between TF and silicon (Si) PV research fields.
2 PhD students have been working on the development of - front and rear - surface passivation layers and light management methods, and 1 PhD student on thinning down and simplification of the absorber layer. A Postdoc assisted the PI in the guidance of these PhD researchers.
- Surface cleaning treatments, and industrially viable contacting approaches
- Metallic reflectors combined with surface passivation layers
- Simplified absorber layers for improved reliability/stability, new electrical characterization approach for thin film PV
Expected results until the end of the project
Scientifically – This project will deliver new understanding about ultra-thin CIGS(e) materials and its surface passivation and optical confinement. This includes new scientific models for passivation and light management, and complete solar cell models, but also novel characterization devices and approaches.
Technologically – If the proposed CIGS(e) solar cell design is effective, it will also be interesting for other TF PV materials, e.g. cadmium telluride (CdTe) and perovskite, two materials with very similar characteristics. Additionally, the concept will certainly be up-scalable due to a clear focus on industrial viability throughout the complete project. Finally, many other state-of-the-art Si PV concepts will become interesting for application in TF PV.
Socially – Currently, the field of PV is noticeably divided in two very independent parts, i.e. silicon and thin film. Both parts have their own researcher profile, technological approaches and industrial establishment. If “Uniting PV” is successful, both fields must start to show interest in each other, which should have a very positive impact on collaboration and innovation. Hence, two very competitive solar cell technologies and industries could develop important synergies, e.g. on the level of required equipment and solar cell architectures