Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New world record efficiency for thin film silicon solar cells

Date:
February 12, 2013
Source:
Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne
Summary:
Researchers have reached a remarkable 10.7 percent efficiency single-junction microcrystalline silicon solar cell, clearly surpassing the previous world record of 10.1 percent held by the Japanese company Kaneka Corporation since 1998. Such significant efficiency, independently certified, was achieved with less than two micrometers of photovoltaic active material – 100 times less than with standard techniques.

Record efficiency with less than 2 micrometers of silicium.
Credit: © PVLab / EPFL

EPFL's Institute of Microengineering has reached a remarkable 10.7% efficiency single-junction microcrystalline silicon solar cell, clearly surpassing the previous world record of 10.1% held by the Japanese company Kaneka Corporation since 1998. Such significant efficiency, independently certified by the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems (ISE CalLab PV Cells), was achieved in addition with less than 2 micrometers of photovoltaic active material.

The Photovoltaics-Laboratory (PV-Lab) of IMT, founded in 1984 by Prof. Arvind Shah and now headed by Prof. Christophe Ballif, is well known as a pioneer in the development of thin-film silicon solar cells, and as a precursor in the use of microcrystalline silicon as a photoactive material in thin-film silicon photovoltaic (TF-Si PV) devices. A remarkable step was achieved this week by the team led by Dr. Fanny Meillaud and Dr. Matthieu Despeisse with a new world record efficiency of 10.7% for a single-junction microcrystalline silicon solar cell, independently confirmed at Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems (ISE CalLab PV Cells), Freiburg, Germany.

"Deep understanding has been gained these last years in material quality, efficient light-trapping and cell design, which in combination with careful process optimization led to this remarkable world-record efficiency" says Simon Hänni, PhD student at IMT Neuchâtel. Importantly, the employed processes can be up-scaled to the module level. While standard wafer-based crystalline silicon PV technology implements absorber layers with a thickness of about 180 micrometers for module conversion efficiency of 15 to 20%, 10.7% efficiency was reached here with only 1.8 micrometers of silicon material, i.e. 100 times less material than for conventional technologies, and with cell fabrication temperature never exceeding 200°C. Thin-film silicon technology indeed offers the advantages of saving up on raw material and offering low energy payback time, thus allowing module production prices as low as 35 €/m2, reaching the price level of standard roof tiles.

The reported progress is of paramount importance for increasing further TF-Si PV devices efficiency and potential, as at least one microcrystalline silicon junction is systematically used in combination with an amorphous silicon junction to form multiple junction devices for a broader use of the solar spectrum. The reported record efficiency clearly indicates that the potential of TF-Si multi-junction devices can be extended to > 13.5% conversion efficiency with a minimum usage of abundant and non-toxic raw material at low costs (TF-Si PV modules implementing in their simplest form two glasses and few microns of zinc and of silicon for an easy recycling).

Work leading to this result was supported by the Swiss Federal Office of Energy (SFOE), the EU-FP7 program, the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) and the Commission for Technology and Innovation (CTI).


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne. "New world record efficiency for thin film silicon solar cells." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 February 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130212111935.htm>.
Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne. (2013, February 12). New world record efficiency for thin film silicon solar cells. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130212111935.htm
Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne. "New world record efficiency for thin film silicon solar cells." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130212111935.htm (accessed October 23, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

San Diego Zoo's White Rhinos Provide Hope for the Critically Endangered Species

San Diego Zoo's White Rhinos Provide Hope for the Critically Endangered Species

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Oct. 22, 2014) — The pair of rare white northern rhinos bring hope for their species as only six remain in the world. Elly Park reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Trick-or-Treating Banned Because of Polar Bears

Trick-or-Treating Banned Because of Polar Bears

Buzz60 (Oct. 21, 2014) — Mother Nature is pulling a trick on the kids of Arviat, Canada. As Mara Montalbano (@maramontalbano) tells us, the effects of global warming caused the town to ban trick-or-treating this Halloween. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

AFP (Oct. 20, 2014) — He is leading a one man agricultural revolution in Mali - Oumar Diatabe uses traditional farming methods to get the most out of his land and is teaching others across the country how to do the same. Duration: 01:44 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Detroit's Money Woes Led To U.N.-Condemned Water Cutoffs

How Detroit's Money Woes Led To U.N.-Condemned Water Cutoffs

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) — The United Nations says water is a human right, but should it be free? Detroit has cut off water to residents who can't pay, and the U.N. isn't happy. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins