Project Name: Fault Tolerant, Shade Tolerant High Voltage Photovoltaic Modules
Funding Opportunity: PVRD2
SETO Subprogram: Photovoltaics
Location: Tempe, AZ
SETO Award Amount: $180,000
Awardee Cost Share: $20,000
Principal Investigator: Stuart Bowden

This project is developing a solar cell architecture called the M-CELL, which enables higher voltage and lower current than conventional photovoltaic modules. The M-CELL architecture results in a single silicon wafer where multiple cells are monolithically integrated and interconnected in series. This project is researching the series connection configuration, current-voltage characteristics, and impact of higher voltage on power losses of this early-stage technology.


The research team is developing a new process flow to monolithically integrate multiple cells onto one silicon wafer, which will allow for the reduction of the losses associated with increasing current in traditional cells. The optimization between shadowing and shunting effects of the on-wafer interconnection will be modeled and realized in laboratory M-CELLS. After undergoing laboratory testing, the best performing modules will be delivered to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory for certification.


This project will allow for a better understanding of the design tradeoffs in monolithic integration of series-connected, flip-flop sub-cells on one wafer. By testing different design features, researchers will be better able to resolve the tradeoffs. Creating four-cell sub-modules with an optimal design, the resulting configuration will have less than 20 percent cell-to-module power loss.