PROJECT PROFILE: University of Delaware 2 (PVRD)

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Project Name: Improved Performance and Reliability of PV Modules using the Reaction of Metal Precursors
Funding Opportunity: PVRD
SunShot Subprogram: Photovoltaics
Location: Newark, DE
SunShot Award Amount: $800,000
Awardee Cost Share: $88,889
Project Investigator: William Shafarman

This project is working to improve the performance and reliability of thin-film copper indium gallium sulfide selenide (CIGSS) cells. The team is developing innovative approaches to improve the deposition and device fabrication to provide a pathway to significant reduction in the levelized cost of electricity (LCOE). By focusing on processes and materials with low manufacturing cost and that are already used in commercial production, the project expects to directly impact the market and advance CIGSS technology toward and beyond the SunShot 2020 goal for $0.06 per kilowatt hour LCOE.

Approach

The research team will develop methods for higher efficiency with increased open circuit voltage using a wider absorber layer bandgap and optimized control of bulk and surface properties in the CIGSS absorber layer. This includes quantifying correlations between process conditions and changes in output which impact product qualification and baselines for reliability, and transferring critical gains in precursor reaction technology to manufacturing.

Innovation

This project will potentially deliver new thin-film cells that can be manufactured at a much lower cost than conventional silicon solar cells. This work will provide the industry with a fundamental understanding of effects of the material and process changes on local optoelectronic properties using high-resolution optoelectronic characterization.