Project Name: Improving Energy Yield in Photovoltaic Modules With Photonic Structures
Funding Opportunity: Solar Energy Technologies Office Fiscal Year 2018 Funding Program (SETO FY2018)
SETO Research Area: Photovoltaics
Location: Minneapolis, MN
SETO Award Amount: $147,163
Awardee Cost Share: $50,758
Principal Investigator: Vivian Ferry

-- Award and cost share amounts are subject to change pending negotiations --

This project investigates the use of alternative material coatings on silicon (Si) solar cell surfaces and examines their effects on photovoltaic (PV) cell temperature and performance. Operating temperature influences PV performance, so controlling PV cell temperature is an important design approach consideration.  The project will also develop modeling tools to study the effect of different processing parameters on cell properties and performance in addition to factors influencing cell configuration and production costs.   

APPROACH

Researchers will deposit multi-layer coatings onto the panel surfaces of Si commercial cells, then use predictive modeling to measure the temperature profiles and optical properties of the coatings, including transmission, reflection, and cell conversion efficiencies. Results will be further examined to improve the way the cell modules are made with further cost models informing cell design, system implementation, and process manufacture. The team will also measure coating and film thickness before conducting performance comparisons between cells with and without coatings. The results will be characterized to determine the effectiveness of the film additions on lowering cell temperature and improving performance.  

INNOVATION

This work uses predictive modeling and experimental characterization to support alternative design recommendations to improve performance of Si solar cells. The project aims to demonstrate the potential of a multi-coating method to improve PV cell performance and the successful integration of this method with widely accepted industry processes. Obtaining detailed information on a variety of cell design configurations enables the PV research community to better understand the factors contributing to performance and further advances PV development technology.