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Perovskite/silicon tandems for very high performance PV

The combination of different kinds of solar cells in a PV module can enable a fundamentally higher efficiency. With one kind being optimal for short wavelength photons, and the other for long wavelength photons, more electrical energy can be extracted from sunlight than possible with a single kind of solar cell. TNO has expertise on solar cell technologies suitable for such a tandem PV application, and develops tandem PV for industrialization.

Relevance

The high efficiency offered by tandem PV can contribute to reducing overall PV system costs, and is important to reduce the area required for PV power generation. Both aspects support the transition to a society using primarily renewable energy.

Market

The international technology roadmap for photovoltaics (ITRPV) foresees that tandem PV based on crystalline silicon (c-Si) will make rapid progress towards industrial implementation, and may have obtained a significant market share by 2025. Based on the limited available area for PV and importance of rooftop PV, The Netherlands may be amongst the front-runners.

Technologies

Hybrid organic-inorganic perovskite thin film solar cells are the primary candidate technology to be paired with c-Si to construct the tandem, though other candidates are also under investigation. Research organization Solliance, in which TNO participates, executes an industrial shared research program on perovskite PV technology. ECN part of TNO together with academic and industrial partners combines the perovskite thin film technology with c-Si technology to create tandem cells and modules. So far an efficiency gain of 5 percentage points (25%) over an average performance industrial c-Si cell was achieved. ECN part of TNO expects to begin small scale module outdoor tests in 2018. Solliance also looks into fully-thin-film-based tandem PV technologies, such as perovskite combined with CIGS.

ECN part of TNO

Based on its know-how spanning the entire production chain from solar cell to PV system, ECN part of TNO can provide support and cooperation on topics such as:

  • Adaptation of c-Si cell and module technology to suit a tandem application. Examples are specific applications of polySi passivated contact cell technology or conductive backsheet module technology.
  • Integration of cell technologies into a tandem module. Examples are module materials suitable to protect the perovskite solar cells, or design and configuration of the electrical interconnection of the cells.
  • Integral tandem device design, characterization, modeling, and optimization. For example, optical analysis and optimization are complex but important activities for achieving a high efficiency.
  • Accelerated degradation testing, failure analysis, and solutions. Perovskite solar cells require interconnection and encapsulation methods different from standard c-Si technologies. Creating stable long-lifetime perovskite modules is an important objective of Solliance’s research program.
  • Characterization, monitoring, and modeling. Monitoring and reliable field data, and understanding of energy yield, are important for the introduction of this new PV technology.
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