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Title: Raising the one-sun conversion efficiency of III–V/Si solar cells to 32.8% for two junctions and 35.9% for three junctions

Abstract

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 record 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.

Authors:
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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); USDOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), NREL Laboratory Directed Research and Development (LDRD)
OSTI Identifier:
1392774
Report Number(s):
NREL/JA-5J00-67270
Journal ID: ISSN 2058-7546
DOE Contract Number:  
AC36-08GO28308
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Journal Name:
Nature Energy
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 2; Journal Issue: 9; Journal ID: ISSN 2058-7546
Publisher:
Nature Publishing Group
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
14 SOLAR ENERGY; photovoltaic cells; single-junction; efficiency

Citation Formats

Essig, Stephanie, Allebé, Christophe, Remo, Timothy, Geisz, John F., Steiner, Myles A., Horowitz, Kelsey, Barraud, Loris, Ward, J. Scott, Schnabel, Manuel, Descoeudres, Antoine, Young, David L., Woodhouse, Michael, Despeisse, Matthieu, Ballif, Christophe, and Tamboli, Adele. Raising the one-sun conversion efficiency of III–V/Si solar cells to 32.8% for two junctions and 35.9% for three junctions. United States: N. p., 2017. Web. doi:10.1038/nenergy.2017.144.
Essig, Stephanie, Allebé, Christophe, Remo, Timothy, Geisz, John F., Steiner, Myles A., Horowitz, Kelsey, Barraud, Loris, Ward, J. Scott, Schnabel, Manuel, Descoeudres, Antoine, Young, David L., Woodhouse, Michael, Despeisse, Matthieu, Ballif, Christophe, & Tamboli, Adele. Raising the one-sun conversion efficiency of III–V/Si solar cells to 32.8% for two junctions and 35.9% for three junctions. United States. doi:10.1038/nenergy.2017.144.
Essig, Stephanie, Allebé, Christophe, Remo, Timothy, Geisz, John F., Steiner, Myles A., Horowitz, Kelsey, Barraud, Loris, Ward, J. Scott, Schnabel, Manuel, Descoeudres, Antoine, Young, David L., Woodhouse, Michael, Despeisse, Matthieu, Ballif, Christophe, and Tamboli, Adele. Fri . "Raising the one-sun conversion efficiency of III–V/Si solar cells to 32.8% for two junctions and 35.9% for three junctions". United States. doi:10.1038/nenergy.2017.144.
@article{osti_1392774,
title = {Raising the one-sun conversion efficiency of III–V/Si solar cells to 32.8% for two junctions and 35.9% for three junctions},
author = {Essig, Stephanie and Allebé, Christophe and Remo, Timothy and Geisz, John F. and Steiner, Myles A. and Horowitz, Kelsey and Barraud, Loris and Ward, J. Scott and Schnabel, Manuel and Descoeudres, Antoine and Young, David L. and Woodhouse, Michael and Despeisse, Matthieu and Ballif, Christophe and Tamboli, Adele},
abstractNote = {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 record 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.},
doi = {10.1038/nenergy.2017.144},
journal = {Nature Energy},
issn = {2058-7546},
number = 9,
volume = 2,
place = {United States},
year = {2017},
month = {8}
}