Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

CleanTechnica

Clean Power

Stacked Solar Cells Can Now Operate At Solar Concentrations Of Up To 70,000 Suns Worth Of Energy Thanks To New Technique

A means of improving the connections between stacked solar cells — one capable of increasing the overall efficiency of solar energy devices, while also reducing associated costs — was recently devised by researchers at North Carolina State University. The new technique makes it possible for stacked solar cells to operate at solar concentrations of up to 70,000 suns worth of energy while still maintaining an optimal level of efficiency — rather than losing a larger and larger proportion of voltage as waste heat, as would otherwise be the case. The researchers think that this should help to reduce the cost of solar energy production.

For some background — stacked solar cells are simply a collection of multiple solar cells that are assembled on top of each another — they’re currently the most efficient type of solar cell on the market, reaching conversion efficiencies as high as 45%. In order for them to be effective, though, they need to be designed so that the connecting junctions in between these stacked cells don’t absorb any of the sunlight — in other words you need to make sure that the connections don’t siphon some of the voltage that the cells produce. The energy that is siphoned off ends up being “wasted” as waste heat.

“We have discovered that by inserting a very thin film of gallium arsenide into the connecting junction of stacked cells we can virtually eliminate voltage loss without blocking any of the solar energy,” states Dr. Salah Bedair, a professor of electrical engineering at NC State and senior author of a paper describing the work.

The discovery means solar cell manufacturers can create stacked solar cells that can handle high-intensity solar energies without losing voltage at the connecting junctions, potentially improving conversion efficiency. Image Credits: NC State University

The discovery means solar cell manufacturers can create stacked solar cells that can handle high-intensity solar energies without losing voltage at the connecting junctions, potentially improving conversion efficiency.
Image Credit: NC State University


The press release from North Carolina State University has more:

This work is important because photovoltaic energy companies are interested in using lenses to concentrate solar energy, from one sun (no lens) to 4,000 suns or more. But if the solar energy is significantly intensified — to 700 suns or more — the connecting junctions used in existing stacked cells begin losing voltage. And the more intense the solar energy, the more voltage those junctions lose — thereby reducing the conversion efficiency.

“Now we have created a connecting junction that loses almost no voltage, even when the stacked solar cell is exposed to 70,000 suns of solar energy,” Bedair explains. “And that is more than sufficient for practical purposes, since concentrating lenses are unlikely to create more than 4,000 or 5,000 suns worth of energy. This discovery means that solar cell manufacturers can now create stacked cells that can handle these high-intensity solar energies without losing voltage at the connecting junctions, thus potentially improving conversion efficiency.”

“This should reduce overall costs for the energy industry because, rather than creating large, expensive solar cells, you can use much smaller cells that produce just as much electricity by absorbing intensified solar energy from concentrating lenses. And concentrating lenses are relatively inexpensive,” Bedair concludes.

 

Advertisement
 
Appreciate CleanTechnica’s originality? Consider becoming a CleanTechnica Member, Supporter, Technician, or Ambassador — or a patron on Patreon.
 
Have a tip for CleanTechnica, want to advertise, or want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.

Written By

James Ayre's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy.

Comments

You May Also Like

Clean Power

A new analysis led by North Carolina State University researchers found offshore wind power could help lower wholesale electricity prices on average for six states...

Climate Change

Originally published by North Carolina State University. By Laura Oleniacz Two new studies led by a North Carolina State University researcher offer a preview...

Agriculture

Originally published on The U.S. National Science Foundation. WASHINGTON — Last week, the U.S. National Science Foundation announced the establishment of 11 new NSF National...

Clean Power

The promise of marine energy is seemingly boundless — and thanks to a recently upgraded tool powered by new high-resolution data sets, users can...

Copyright © 2021 CleanTechnica. The content produced by this site is for entertainment purposes only. Opinions and comments published on this site may not be sanctioned by and do not necessarily represent the views of CleanTechnica, its owners, sponsors, affiliates, or subsidiaries.