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 September 16, 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 September 16, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) — Squid experts in New Zealand thawed and examined an unusual catch on Tuesday: a colossal squid. It was captured in Antarctica's remote Ross Sea in December last year and has been frozen for eight months. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Man Floats for 31 Hours in Gulf Waters

Man Floats for 31 Hours in Gulf Waters

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) — A Texas man is lucky to be alive after he and three others floated for more than a day in the Gulf of Mexico when their boat sank during a fishing trip. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researchers Explore Shipwrecks Off Calif. Coast

Researchers Explore Shipwrecks Off Calif. Coast

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) — Federal researchers are exploring more than a dozen underwater sites where they believe ships sank in the treacherous waters west of San Francisco in the decades following the Gold Rush. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Isolated N. Korea Asks For International Help With Volcano

Isolated N. Korea Asks For International Help With Volcano

Newsy (Sep. 16, 2014) — Mount Paektu volcano in North Korea is showing signs of life and there's not much known about it. 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:
from the past week

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