Solar cell generations over 40% efficiency

Richard 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, N. H. Karam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

189 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

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/cm 2) (AM1.5D, ASTM G173-03, 25 °C), the highest demonstrated for a cell of this type requiring a single metal-organic vapor-phase epitaxy growth run.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)801-815
Number of pages15
JournalProgress in Photovoltaics: Research and Applications
Volume20
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2012
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Solar cells
solar cells
concentrators
cells
Power generation
Vapor phase epitaxy
Materials science
Conversion efficiency
solar spectra
Costs
Electricity
materials science
electricity
Metals
vapor phase epitaxy
progressions
manufacturing
costs
metals

Keywords

  • 4-junction, 5-junction, 6-junction
  • concentrator
  • cost modeling
  • energy production
  • high efficiency
  • III-V
  • metamorphic
  • multijunction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics

Cite this

King, R., Bhusari, D., Larrabee, D., Liu, X. Q., Rehder, E., Edmondson, K., ... Karam, N. H. (2012). Solar cell generations over 40% efficiency. Progress in Photovoltaics: Research and Applications, 20(6), 801-815. https://doi.org/10.1002/pip.1255

Solar cell generations over 40% efficiency. / King, Richard; Bhusari, D.; Larrabee, D.; Liu, X. Q.; Rehder, E.; Edmondson, K.; Cotal, H.; Jones, R. K.; Ermer, J. H.; Fetzer, C. M.; Law, D. C.; Karam, N. H.

In: Progress in Photovoltaics: Research and Applications, Vol. 20, No. 6, 09.2012, p. 801-815.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

King, R, Bhusari, D, Larrabee, D, Liu, XQ, Rehder, E, Edmondson, K, Cotal, H, Jones, RK, Ermer, JH, Fetzer, CM, Law, DC & Karam, NH 2012, 'Solar cell generations over 40% efficiency', Progress in Photovoltaics: Research and Applications, vol. 20, no. 6, pp. 801-815. https://doi.org/10.1002/pip.1255
King R, Bhusari D, Larrabee D, Liu XQ, Rehder E, Edmondson K et al. Solar cell generations over 40% efficiency. Progress in Photovoltaics: Research and Applications. 2012 Sep;20(6):801-815. https://doi.org/10.1002/pip.1255
King, Richard ; Bhusari, D. ; Larrabee, D. ; Liu, X. Q. ; Rehder, E. ; Edmondson, K. ; Cotal, H. ; Jones, R. K. ; Ermer, J. H. ; Fetzer, C. M. ; Law, D. C. ; Karam, N. H. / Solar cell generations over 40% efficiency. In: Progress in Photovoltaics: Research and Applications. 2012 ; Vol. 20, No. 6. pp. 801-815.
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AU - Cotal, H.

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