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We are at a critical turning point of the energy transition. The global PV market shipped more than 100 GW of modules for the second year in a row. More importantly, the PV industry is maturing quickly with a learning rate – the price reduction for each doubling of cumulative PV module shipments - of over 39% since 2006. This aggressive development is unique to the PV industry. My research contributes to this success story with a focus on solutions for today’s challenges and tomorrow’s innovations. We are working to improve the reliability and lifetime of conventional modules with fast and effective in-line techniques and materials research. For the future, we are surpassing the current efficiency limit of a single device by adopting Tandem PV technology. Increasing the efficiency and lengthening the lifetime of PV leads to further reductions in the Levelized Cost of Electricity (LCOE), accelerating the Energy Transition and the dominance of solar energy are our goals. With my colleagues at TNO Energy Transition and Solliance and with our industrial and academic partners, we aim to scale-up and demonstrate efficiencies of 35% with reliable and industrially relevant Tandem modules.
We set the basis to overcome the technical challenges to combine the main-stream silicon technology with the newly researched transparent perovskite devices and confirmed the huge advantages of the tandem approach. We demonstrated that the tandem architecture can be further combined with bifacial technology to reach record efficiencies with knowledge and products already proven in the market. A bifacial tandem device with equivalent efficiency passing the fundamental limit of silicon technology was reported in early 2019. This has demonstrated to the international community that the next technology step should be the combination of two low-cost high-efficiency devices in a single bifacial tandem device.
With my PhD students at UNSW we have also been the first to directly link the amount of hydrogen in the passivation layers to the degradation extent due to light and elevated temperature induced degradation in silicon devices and identified the defect level and capture cross section ratios of this defect. This provides verification of theory and the knowledge to improve reliability of modules more effectively, making 30-40 year lifetimes a more accessible industry standard.