PROGRESS IN PHOTOVOLTAICS: RESEARCH AND APPLICATIONS
Prog. Photovolt: Res. Appl. (2012)
Published online in Wiley Online Library (wileyonlinelibrary.com). DOI: 10.1002/pip.1255
PAPER PRESENTED AT 26TH EU PVSEC, HAMBURG, GERMANY 2011
Solar cell generations over 40% efﬁciency
R. R. King*, D. Bhusari, D. Larrabee, X.-Q. Liu, E. Rehder, K. Edmondson, H. Cotal, R. K. Jones, J. H. Ermer, C. M. Fetzer, D. C. Law and N. H. Karam
Spectrolab, Inc., 12500 Gladstone Ave, Sylmar, CA 91342, USA
Multijunction III-V concentrator cells of several different types have demonstrated solar conversion efﬁciency over 40% since 2006, and represent the only third-generation photovoltaic technology to enter commercial power generation markets so far. The next stage of solar cell efﬁciency improvement, from 40% to 50%-efﬁcient production cells, is perhaps the most important yet, since it is in this range that concentrator photovoltaic (CPV) systems can become the lowest cost option for solar electricity, competing with conventional power generation without government subsidies. The impact of 40% and 50% cell efﬁciency on cost-effective geographic regions for CPV systems is calculated in the continental US, Europe, and North Africa. We take a systematic look at a progression of multijunction cell architectures that will take us up to 50% efﬁciency, using modeling grounded in well-characterized solar cell materials systems of today’s 40% cells, discussing the theoretical, materials science, and manufacturing considerations for the most promising approaches. The effects of varying solar spectrum and current balance on energy production in 4-junction, 5-junction, and 6-junction terrestrial concentrator cells are shown to be noticeable, but are far outweighed by the increased efﬁciency of these advanced cell designs. Production efﬁciency distributions of the last ﬁve generations of terrestrial concentrator solar cells are discussed. Experimental results are shown for a highly manufacturable, upright metamorphic 3-junction GaInP/GaInAs/Ge solar cell with 41.6% efﬁciency independently conﬁrmed at 484 suns (48.4 W/cm2) (AM1.5D, ASTM G173-03, 25 C), the highest demonstrated for a cell of this type requiring a single metalorganic vapor-phase epitaxy growth run. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. KEYWORDS
multijunction; high efﬁciency; concentrator; III-V; metamorphic; 4-junction, 5-junction, 6-junction; energy production; cost modeling *Correspondence
Richard King, Spectrolab, Inc., 12500 Gladstone Ave, Sylmar, CA 91342, USA. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Received 2 September 2011; Revised 2 November 2011; Accepted 22 November 2011
Multijunction III-V concentrator cells have the highest
energy conversion efﬁciency of any solar cell technology,
with several different types of cell architecture reaching
over 40% efﬁciency since 2006 [1–7]. Such cells represent the only third-generation photovoltaic technology to enter commercial power generation markets so far,
and continue to demonstrate what is possible for other
emerging solar cell technologies that divide the sun’s
spectrum into discrete slices for higher efﬁciency, such
as ﬂat-plate multijunction polycrystalline semiconductor
cells, tandem organic solar cells, and spectral splitting
III-V multijunction concentrator cells using these highefﬁciency innovations are now by far the dominant type of solar cells used in concentrator photovoltaic (CPV) solar
electric systems, due to their dramatic efﬁciency advantages. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Photovoltaics have grown at a phenomenal rate of over 40%
per year for the last decade, but much of this growth has been sustained by hefty government subsidies. To become a
technology that truly changes the way the global community
generates most of its electricity, photovoltaics will become too large to be helped substantially by funding from any
government, and will need...
References: Prog. Photovolt: Res. Appl. (2012) © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Solar Junction press release, April 14, 2011, Diandra
Cell Efﬁciency, June 1, 2011, https://eere-exchange.
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