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Title: Economic competitiveness of III-V on silicon tandem one-sun photovoltaic solar modules in favorable future scenarios

Abstract

Here, tandem modules combining a III-V top cell with a Si bottom cell offer the potential to increase the solar energy conversion efficiency of one-sun photovoltaic modules beyond 25%, while fully utilizing the global investment that has been made in Si photovoltaics manufacturing. At present, the cost of III-V cells is far too high for this approach to be competitive for one-sun terrestrial power applications. We investigated the system-level economic benefits of both GaAs/Si and InGaP/Si tandem modules in favorable future scenarios where the cost of III-V cells is substantially reduced, perhaps to less than the cost of Si cells. We found, somewhat unexpectedly, that these tandems can reduce installed system cost only when the area-related balance-of-system cost is high, such as for area-constrained residential rooftop systems in the USA. When area-related balance-of-system cost is lower, such as for utility-scale systems, the tandem module offers no benefit. This is because a system using tandem modules is more expensive than one using single-junction Si modules when III-V cells are expensive, and a system using tandem modules is more expensive than one using single-junction III-V modules when III-V cells are inexpensive.

Authors:
 [1];  [1];  [1];  [1];  [1]
  1. National Renewable Energy Lab. (NREL), Golden, CO (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
National Renewable Energy Lab. (NREL), Golden, CO (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), Solar Energy Technologies Office (EE-4S)
OSTI Identifier:
1336558
Report Number(s):
NREL/JA-5K00-65780
Journal ID: ISSN 1062-7995
Grant/Contract Number:
AC36-08GO28308; EE00025784
Resource Type:
Journal Article: Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Progress in Photovoltaics
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 25; Journal Issue: 1; Journal ID: ISSN 1062-7995
Publisher:
Wiley
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
14 SOLAR ENERGY; 36 MATERIALS SCIENCE; tandem photovoltaics; silicon; gallium arsenide; indium gallium arsenide; manufacturing costs; III-V on Si; tandem solar cell; multijunction solar cell; balance of system costs; total system costs

Citation Formats

Bobela, David C., Gedvilas, Lynn, Woodhouse, Michael, Horowitz, Kelsey A. W., and Basore, Paul A. Economic competitiveness of III-V on silicon tandem one-sun photovoltaic solar modules in favorable future scenarios. United States: N. p., 2016. Web. doi:10.1002/pip.2808.
Bobela, David C., Gedvilas, Lynn, Woodhouse, Michael, Horowitz, Kelsey A. W., & Basore, Paul A. Economic competitiveness of III-V on silicon tandem one-sun photovoltaic solar modules in favorable future scenarios. United States. doi:10.1002/pip.2808.
Bobela, David C., Gedvilas, Lynn, Woodhouse, Michael, Horowitz, Kelsey A. W., and Basore, Paul A. 2016. "Economic competitiveness of III-V on silicon tandem one-sun photovoltaic solar modules in favorable future scenarios". United States. doi:10.1002/pip.2808. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1336558.
@article{osti_1336558,
title = {Economic competitiveness of III-V on silicon tandem one-sun photovoltaic solar modules in favorable future scenarios},
author = {Bobela, David C. and Gedvilas, Lynn and Woodhouse, Michael and Horowitz, Kelsey A. W. and Basore, Paul A.},
abstractNote = {Here, tandem modules combining a III-V top cell with a Si bottom cell offer the potential to increase the solar energy conversion efficiency of one-sun photovoltaic modules beyond 25%, while fully utilizing the global investment that has been made in Si photovoltaics manufacturing. At present, the cost of III-V cells is far too high for this approach to be competitive for one-sun terrestrial power applications. We investigated the system-level economic benefits of both GaAs/Si and InGaP/Si tandem modules in favorable future scenarios where the cost of III-V cells is substantially reduced, perhaps to less than the cost of Si cells. We found, somewhat unexpectedly, that these tandems can reduce installed system cost only when the area-related balance-of-system cost is high, such as for area-constrained residential rooftop systems in the USA. When area-related balance-of-system cost is lower, such as for utility-scale systems, the tandem module offers no benefit. This is because a system using tandem modules is more expensive than one using single-junction Si modules when III-V cells are expensive, and a system using tandem modules is more expensive than one using single-junction III-V modules when III-V cells are inexpensive.},
doi = {10.1002/pip.2808},
journal = {Progress in Photovoltaics},
number = 1,
volume = 25,
place = {United States},
year = 2016,
month = 9
}

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