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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
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1401708
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. Mon . "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 = {Mon Sep 05 00:00:00 EDT 2016},
month = {Mon Sep 05 00:00:00 EDT 2016}
}

Journal Article:
Free Publicly Available Full Text
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Citation Metrics:
Cited by: 7works
Citation information provided by
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  • This work examines a tandem module design with GaInP2 mechanically stacked on top of crystalline Si, using a detailed photovoltaic (PV) system model to simulate four-terminal (4T) unconstrained and two-terminal voltage-matched (2T VM) parallel architectures. Module-level power electronics is proposed for the 2T VM module design to enhance its performance over the breadth of temperatures experienced by a typical PV installation. Annual, hourly simulations of various scenarios indicate that this design can reduce annual energy losses to ~0.5% relative to the 4T module configuration. Consideration is given to both performance and practical design for building or ground mount installations, emphasizingmore » compatibility with existing standard Si modules.« less
  • The design, fabrication and performance of InGaAs and InGaP/GaAs microcells are presented. These cells are integrated with a Si wafer providing a path for insertion in hybrid concentrated photovoltaic modules. Comparisons are made between bonded cells and cells fabricated on their native wafer. The bonded cells showed no evidence of degradation in spite of the integration process which involved significant processing including the removal of the III-V substrate. Results from a number of hybrid cell configurations were reported. These cells employed integration techniques including wafer level bonding of processed cells and solder bonding of the cells. Lastly, the cells themselvesmore » showed evidence of degradation in spite of the integration process, which involved significant processing including the removal of the III-V substrate.« less
  • Today's dominant photovoltaic technologies rely on single-junction devices, which are approaching their practical efficiency limit of 25-27%. Therefore, researchers are increasingly turning to multi-junction devices, which consist of two or more stacked subcells, each absorbing a different part of the solar spectrum. Here, we show that dual-junction III-V//Sidevices with mechanically stacked, independently operated III-V and Si cells reach cumulative one-sun efficiencies up to 32.8%. Efficiencies up to 35.9% were achieved when combining a GaInP/GaAs dual-junction cell with a Si single-junction cell. These efficiencies exceed both the theoretical 29.4% efficiency limit of conventional Si technology and the efficiency of the recordmore » III-V dual-junction device (32.6%), highlighting the potential of Si-based multi-junction solar cells. However, techno-economic analysis reveals an order-of-magnitude disparity between the costs for III-V//Si tandem cells and conventional Si solar cells, which can be reduced if research advances in low-cost III-V growth techniques and new substrate materials are successful.« less