US Swiss R&D staff developed record-breaking high-efficiency photovoltaic panels

Recently, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) jointly developed a high photoelectric conversion efficiency group III-V / silicon-based photovoltaic panel jointly with CSEM and EPFL (Lausanne Institute of Electronics and Technology),its efficiency up to 35.9%.

Research Background

For the photovoltaic systems conversion efficiency of photovoltaic panels, researchers have been able to do more than 35% efficiency photovoltaic panels in the laboratory before. But at the cost of high material costs caused by the difficulty of large-scale commercial production. On the other hand, the current PV market is mainly dominated by low-cost single-junction solar cells whose luminous efficiency is generally between 17-22%.


Just like other research institutes, researchers at NREL, CSEM and EPFL are also working on the development of multi-junction solar cells. By turning the single-junction solar cell structure into a triple-junction structure, the overall luminous efficacy is likely to exceed 30%, while significantly reducing overall manufacturing costs.


In 2016, the team successfully raised its photoelectric efficiency to 29.8%, making it the first joint world record.


R&D status quo


At present, the team has raised the efficiency of two-junction solar cells to 32.8%. The structure is composed of GaAs cells (upper layers) made by NREL and silicon hetero-cells (lower layers) made by CSEM. At the same time, the triple junction solar cell's efficiency has been raised to 35.9% (NREL GaInP / GaAs cells (upper) and CSEM silicon heterogeneous cells (lower)).


This highly efficient silicon-based stacked cell can provide similar luminous efficacy to high-cost full III-V multi-junction cells. For the new structure of multi-junction solar cells provide a new possibility.


AdeleTamboli, NREL


This record shows that if we want to continue to raise the cost-efficiency ratio, the heterogeneity of silicon and other Group III-V elements will be a good choice.


Extended reading


1. National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)


Founded in 1977, NREL is a renewable energy laboratory established by the U.S. Department of Energy that focuses on renewable energy sources such as wind, solar and bioenergy.


2. Swiss Electronics and Micro Technology Center (CSEM)


CSEM was first merged by several research institutes in Switzerland. At present, CSEM mainly undertakes the research, development and promotion of the industry. As a rich technology transformation agency, CSEM is very good at using the right technology to meet the needs of the industry.


3. The Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL)


EPFL is one of Europe's top polytechnics and currently employing more than 120 countries. The school's development guidelines: teaching, research and technology transformation. EPFL has always been committed to working with other universities, research institutions and other organizations to work together to truly promote social development.

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