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Title: Energy production advantage of independent subcell connection for multijunction photovoltaics

Abstract

Increasing the number of subcells in a multijunction or "spectrum splitting" photovoltaic improves efficiency under the standard AM1.5D design spectrum, but it can lower efficiency under spectra that differ from the standard if the subcells are connected electrically in series. Using atmospheric data and the SMARTS multiple scattering and absorption model, we simulated sunny day spectra over 1 year for five locations in the United States and determined the annual energy production of spectrum splitting ensembles with 2-20 subcells connected electrically in series or independently. While electrically independent subcells have a small efficiency advantage over series-connected ensembles under the AM1.5D design spectrum, they have a pronounced energy production advantage under realistic spectra over 1 year. Simulated energy production increased with subcell number for the electrically independent ensembles, but it peaked at 8-10 subcells for those connected in series. As a result, electrically independent ensembles with 20 subcells produce up to 27% more energy annually than the series-connected 20-subcell ensemble. This energy production advantage persists when clouds are accounted for.

Authors:
 [1];  [2]
  1. California Institute of Technology, 1200 E California Blvd Pasadena California 91125-0002
  2. Kavli Nanosciences Institute, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena California
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
California Inst. of Technology (CalTech), Pasadena, CA (United States); Energy Frontier Research Centers (EFRC) (United States). Light-Material Interactions in Energy Conversion (LMI)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Advanced Research Projects Agency - Energy (ARPA-E); USDOE Office of Science (SC), Basic Energy Sciences (BES) (SC-22)
OSTI Identifier:
1260849
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1263703; OSTI ID: 1362113
Grant/Contract Number:  
AR0000333; SC0001293
Resource Type:
Published Article
Journal Name:
Energy Science & Engineering
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Name: Energy Science & Engineering Journal Volume: 4 Journal Issue: 4; Journal ID: ISSN 2050-0505
Publisher:
Wiley Blackwell (John Wiley & Sons)
Country of Publication:
United Kingdom
Language:
English
Subject:
14 SOLAR ENERGY; energy production; multijunction solar cells; spectral variation; spectrum splitting

Citation Formats

Warmann, Emily C., and Atwater, Harry A. Energy production advantage of independent subcell connection for multijunction photovoltaics. United Kingdom: N. p., 2016. Web. doi:10.1002/ese3.125.
Warmann, Emily C., & Atwater, Harry A. Energy production advantage of independent subcell connection for multijunction photovoltaics. United Kingdom. doi:10.1002/ese3.125.
Warmann, Emily C., and Atwater, Harry A. Thu . "Energy production advantage of independent subcell connection for multijunction photovoltaics". United Kingdom. doi:10.1002/ese3.125.
@article{osti_1260849,
title = {Energy production advantage of independent subcell connection for multijunction photovoltaics},
author = {Warmann, Emily C. and Atwater, Harry A.},
abstractNote = {Increasing the number of subcells in a multijunction or "spectrum splitting" photovoltaic improves efficiency under the standard AM1.5D design spectrum, but it can lower efficiency under spectra that differ from the standard if the subcells are connected electrically in series. Using atmospheric data and the SMARTS multiple scattering and absorption model, we simulated sunny day spectra over 1 year for five locations in the United States and determined the annual energy production of spectrum splitting ensembles with 2-20 subcells connected electrically in series or independently. While electrically independent subcells have a small efficiency advantage over series-connected ensembles under the AM1.5D design spectrum, they have a pronounced energy production advantage under realistic spectra over 1 year. Simulated energy production increased with subcell number for the electrically independent ensembles, but it peaked at 8-10 subcells for those connected in series. As a result, electrically independent ensembles with 20 subcells produce up to 27% more energy annually than the series-connected 20-subcell ensemble. This energy production advantage persists when clouds are accounted for.},
doi = {10.1002/ese3.125},
journal = {Energy Science & Engineering},
number = 4,
volume = 4,
place = {United Kingdom},
year = {2016},
month = {7}
}

Journal Article:
Free Publicly Available Full Text
Publisher's Version of Record
DOI: 10.1002/ese3.125

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