The search for ever higher conversion efficiency has driven solar researchers to focus on back-contact cell approaches, and efforts to devise more cost-effective manufacturing are bringing technologies such as interdigitated back contact (IBC) solar into the mainstream, as Mark Hutchins reports.
PV Expo and the wider Smart Energy Week wrapped up in Tokyo last week. It revealed ambitious plans for solar and energy storage installations in Japan, including creative approaches to dealing with a severe lack of space for new installations, which should bring plenty of opportunities for domestic and international players.
German scientists have investigated the role of surface texturing in perovskite-silicon tandem cells and have found that several new processes offer the ability to etch smaller, more uniform textures onto the surface of a silicon cell than today’s industry standard. This could help to ease the subsequent growth of a perovskite cell on top of the silicon, enabling researchers and manufacturers to target higher performance.
A new report by the International Energy Agency’s Photovoltaic Power Systems Programme (IEA-PVPS) estimates that lost revenue from PV module soiling amounts to more than €3 billion ($4.6 billion) per year – an amount that is only set to increase as PV systems grow larger and more efficient.
Perovskite solar cells have created excitement in recent years, given their potential to improve virtually every area of PV, but we have yet to see such devices produced at scale. Scientists in Australia have outlined some of the challenges holding them back.
Longi has launched a series of modules featuring an all-new hybrid passivated back contact cell technology, with which it claims a maximum module efficiency of 22.8% in mass production. It will initially offer the modules in 54, 60, 66 and 72 cell formats, targeting rooftop and distributed generation applications.
US scientists recently put different bifacial solar cells and modules through a series of tests at elevated temperature, humidity, voltage and mechanical stress levels. The tests revealed a range of light-induced and potential-induced degradation mechanisms that modules will likely suffer in the field.
A team of scientists from the CSIRO have demonstrated a flexible perovskite solar cell using roll-to-roll compatible “printing” type processes, which could potentially be applied in large-scale manufacturing. Of particular note is the development of a viable roll-to-roll process to deposit the electrode layer, which has thus far been a major challenge. Cells fabricated by the group achieved a maximum efficiency of 16.7%.
An international group of researchers from 15 universities has said that there is growing consensus among scientists that an energy system based on 100% renewables could be achieved cost effectively by 2050.
An international team of scientists developed a nanoparticle structure which, when added to a solar cell, was shown to scatter light and potentially reflect it many times within the cell, contributing to a noticeable jump in current.
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