447 Matching Results

Search Results

Advanced search parameters have been applied.

New Fabrication Method Improves the Efficiency and Economics of Solar Cells (Fact Sheet)

Description: Synthetic fabrication strategy optimizes the illumination geometry and transport properties of dye-sensitized solar cells. Using oriented titanium oxide (TiO{sub 2}) nanotube (NT) arrays has shown promise for dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs). High solar conversion efficiency requires that the incident light enters the cell from the photoelectrode side. However, for NT-based DSSCs, the light normally enters the cell through the counter electrode because a nontransparent titanium foil is typically used as the substrate for forming the aligned NTs and for making electrical contact with them. It has been synthetically challenging to prepare transparent TiO{sub 2} NT electrodes by directly anodizing Ti metal films on transparent conducting oxide (TCO) substrates because it is difficult to control the synthetic conditions. National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) researchers have developed a general synthetic strategy for fabricating transparent TiO{sub 2} NT films on TCO substrates. With the aid of a conducting Nb-doped TiO{sub 2} (NTO) layer between the Ti film and TCO substrate, the Ti film can be anodized completely without degrading the TCO. The NTO layer protects the TCO from degradation through a self-terminating mechanism by arresting the electric field-assisted dissolution process at the NT-NTO interface. NREL researchers found that the illumination direction and wavelength of the light incident on the DSSCs strongly influenced the incident photon-to-current conversion efficiency, light-harvesting, and charge-collection properties, which, in turn, affect the photocurrent density, photovoltage, and solar energy conversion efficiency. Researchers also examined the effects of NT film thickness on the properties and performance of DSSCs and found that illuminating the cell from the photoelectrode side substantially increased the conversion efficiency compared with illuminating it from the counter-electrode side. This method solves a key challenge in fabricating NT-based DSSCs and determines an optimal illumination direction to use in these cells. The synthetic fabrication strategy will improve the economics and ...
Date: July 1, 2012
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

2010 Solar Technologies Market Report

Description: The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) 2010 Solar Technologies Market Report details the market conditions and trends for photovoltaic (PV) and concentrating solar power (CSP) technologies. Produced by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), the report provides a comprehensive overview of the solar electricity market and identifies successes and trends within the market from both global and national perspectives.
Date: November 1, 2011
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

New Tool Quantitatively Maps Minority-Carrier Lifetime of Multicrystalline Silicon Bricks (Fact Sheet)

Description: NREL's new imaging tool could provide manufacturers with insight on their processes. Scientists at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) have used capabilities within the Process Development and Integration Laboratory (PDIL) to generate quantitative minority-carrier lifetime maps of multicrystalline silicon (mc-Si) bricks. This feat has been accomplished by using the PDIL's photoluminescence (PL) imaging system in conjunction with transient lifetime measurements obtained using a custom NREL-designed resonance-coupled photoconductive decay (RCPCD) system. PL imaging can obtain rapid high-resolution images that provide a qualitative assessment of the material lifetime-with the lifetime proportional to the pixel intensity. In contrast, the RCPCD technique provides a fast quantitative measure of the lifetime with a lower resolution and penetrates millimeters into the mc-Si brick, providing information on bulk lifetimes and material quality. This technique contrasts with commercially available minority-carrier lifetime mapping systems that use microwave conductivity measurements. Such measurements are dominated by surface recombination and lack information on the material quality within the bulk of the brick. By combining these two complementary techniques, we obtain high-resolution lifetime maps at very fast data acquisition times-attributes necessary for a production-based diagnostic tool. These bulk lifetime measurements provide manufacturers with invaluable feedback on their silicon ingot casting processes. NREL has been applying the PL images of lifetime in mc-Si bricks in collaboration with a U.S. photovoltaic industry partner through Recovery Act Funded Project ARRA T24. NREL developed a new tool to quantitatively map minority-carrier lifetime of multicrystalline silicon bricks by using photoluminescence imaging in conjunction with resonance-coupled photoconductive decay measurements. Researchers are not hindered by surface recombination and can look deeper into the material to map bulk lifetimes. The tool is being applied to silicon bricks in a project collaborating with a U.S. photovoltaic industry partner. Photovoltaic manufacturers can use the NREL tool to obtain valuable feedback on their ...
Date: November 1, 2011
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

NREL Determines Better Testing Methods for Photovoltaic Module Durability (Fact Sheet), NREL Highlights, Research & Development

Description: NREL discoveries will enable manufacturers to produce more robust photovoltaic modules. Over the past decade, some photovoltaic (PV) modules have experienced power losses because of the system voltage stress that modules experience in fielded arrays. This is partly because qualification tests and standards do not adequately evaluate the durability of modules that undergo the long-term effects of high voltage. Scientists at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) tried various testing methods and stress levels to demonstrate module durability to system voltage potential-induced degradation (PID) mechanisms. The results of these accelerated tests, along with outdoor testing, were used to estimate the acceleration factors needed to more accurately evaluate the durability of modules to system voltage stress. NREL was able to determine stress factors, levels, and methods for testing based on the stresses experienced by modules in the field. These results, in combination with those in the literature, suggest that constant stress with humidity and system voltage is more damaging than stress applied intermittently or with periods of recovery comprising hot and dry conditions or alternating bias in between. NREL has determined some module constructions to be extremely durable to PID. These findings will help the manufacturers of PV materials and components produce more durable products that better satisfy their customers. NREL determined that there is rapid degradation of some PV modules under system voltage stress and evaluated degradation rates in the field to develop more accurate accelerated testing methods. PV module manufacturers will be better able to choose robust materials and durable designs and guarantee sturdier, longer-lasting products. As PV modules become more durable, and thus more efficient over the long term, the risks and the cost of PV power will be reduced.
Date: November 1, 2011
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Simulator Developed to Drastically Reduce Time of Multijunction PV Device Efficiency Measurements (Fact Sheet), NREL Highlights, Research & Development

Description: NREL's new simulator helps speed up research in the race to improve photovoltaic efficiency. Scientists at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) needed a quick and accurate method to predict energy generated from multijunction photovoltaic (PV) test devices. This method had to take into account the nonlinear behavior of multijunction PV. NREL achieved this by developing the One-Sun Multi-Source Simulator (OSMSS), which reduces the time for this type of reference spectrum efficiency measurement from hours or days to minutes. The OSMSS is an automated, spectrally adjustable light source that builds a unique simulator spectrum that causes a multijunction PV device to behave as it would under a reference spectrum. This new simulator consists of four light sources separated into nine wavelength bands between 350 and 2,000 nm. The irradiance in each band is adjustable from zero to about 1.5 suns. All bands are recombined via optical fibers and integrating optics to produce a nearly 10 cm x 10 cm uniform spot. The operator simply links the OSMSS to the quantum efficiency data for the test device, and the OSMSS does the rest. The OSMSS can also determine the power as a function of the spectral irradiance (beyond the reference spectra), total irradiance, and temperature. Major components of the system were built to NREL specification by LabSphere, Inc. NREL developed a new, fully automated tool that rapidly builds a spectrum under which all junctions of a multijunction PV device behave as they would under a reference spectrum. Such a spectrum is essential to properly characterize multijunction devices. The OSMSS reduces the time for building spectra for current vs. voltage measurements from hours or days to minutes. This makes it possible to quickly characterize a multijunction device under many different conditions. The OSMSS will be an important tool to help predict the ...
Date: November 1, 2011
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

NREL Measures IMM Solar Cell Performance for CPV (Fact Sheet), NREL Highlights, Science

Description: New measurement capability supports the development of high-efficiency solar cells for concentrating photovoltaic (CPV) application. NREL scientists recently completed a set of measurements on the performance of an inverted metamorphic multijunction (IMM) solar cell as a function of concentration and cell operating temperature. The triple-junction cell had subcell bandgaps of 1.81, 1.40, and 1.00. Much of the work focused on developing and validating the measurement techniques (i.e., the spectral response of the three subcells was measured at five temperatures, and those data were used to properly adjust the solar simulators at each temperature). Multijunction concentrator solar cells are typically evaluated under flash illumination at 25 C, but this condition significantly underestimates the thermal load on the cell in an actual real-world module, where the steady-state concentrated illumination can raise the operating temperature to as high as 100 C. The NREL-developed measurement technique addresses this issue. This work demonstrated that the IMM cell has better temperature coefficients than its traditional upright, germanium-based, lattice-matched counterpart and will thus perform better in actual CPV applications. This new measurement capability will support NREL's development of IMM cells that are optimally designed for operation at temperatures relevant to actual systems operation.
Date: September 1, 2011
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

NREL Researchers Demonstrate External Quantum Efficiency Surpassing 100% in a Quantum Dot Solar Cell (Fact Sheet)

Description: A new device that produces and collects multiple electrons per photon could yield inexpensive, high-efficiency photovoltaics. A new device developed through research at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) reduces conventional losses in photovoltaic (PV) solar cells, potentially increasing the power conversion efficiency-but not the cost-of the solar cells. Solar cells convert optical energy from the sun into usable electricity; however, almost 50% of the incident energy is lost as heat with present-day technologies. High-efficiency, multi-junction cells reduce this heat loss, but their cost is significantly higher. NREL's new device uses excess energy in solar photons to create extra charges rather than heat. This was achieved using 5-nanometer-diameter quantum dots of lead selenide (PbSe) tightly packed into a film. The researchers chemically treated the film, and then fabricated a device that yielded an external quantum efficiency (number of electrons produced per incident photon) exceeding 100%, a value beyond that of all current solar cells for any incident photon. Quantum dots are known to efficiently generate multiple excitons (a bound electron-hole pair) per absorbed high-energy photon, and this device definitively demonstrates the collection of multiple electrons per photon in a PV cell. The internal quantum efficiency corrects for photons that are not absorbed in the photoactive layer and shows that the PbSe film generates 30% to 40% more electrons in the high-energy spectral region than is possible with a conventional solar cell. While the unoptimized overall power conversion efficiency is still low (less than 5%), the results have important implications for PV because such high quantum efficiency can lead to more electrical current produced than possible using present technologies. Furthermore, this fabrication is also amenable to inexpensive, high-throughput roll-to-roll manufacturing.
Date: December 1, 2011
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

SunShot Vision Study: February 2012 (Book)

Description: The objective of the SunShot Vision Study is to provide an in-depth assessment of the potential for solar technologies to meet a significant share of electricity demand in the United States during the next several decades. Specifically, it explores a future in which the price of solar technologies declines by about 75% between 2010 and 2020 - in line with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) SunShot Initiative's targets.
Date: February 1, 2012
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Increasing Community Access to Solar: Designing and Developing a Shared Solar Photovoltaic System (Fact Sheet)

Description: This document introduces the Energy Department's new Guide to Community Shared Solar: Utility, Private, and Nonprofit Project Development. The guide is designed to help those who want to develop community shared solar projects - from community organizers and advocates to utility managers and government officials - navigate the process of developing shared systems, from early planning to implementation.
Date: June 1, 2012
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Powering Your Community With Solar: Overcoming Market and Implementation Barriers (Fact Sheet)

Description: This document introduces the Energy Department's new Solarize Guidebook: A Community Guide to Collective Purchasing of Residential PV Systems. The guide is designed for 'green' consumers, utilities, local governments, and community groups who want to replicate the success of the Solarize Portland model, overcome barriers to implementation, and permanently transform the market for solar energy in their communities.
Date: June 1, 2012
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

State-of-the-Art Solar Simulator Reduces Measurement Time and Uncertainty (Fact Sheet)

Description: One-Sun Multisource Solar Simulator (OSMSS) brings accurate energy-rating predictions that account for the nonlinear behavior of multijunction photovoltaic devices. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) is one of only a few International Organization for Standardization (ISO)-accredited calibration labs in the world for primary and secondary reference cells and modules. As such, it is critical to seek new horizons in developing simulators and measurement methods. Current solar simulators are not well suited for accurately measuring multijunction devices. To set the electrical current to each junction independently, simulators must precisely tune the spectral content with no overlap between the wavelength regions. Current simulators do not have this capability, and the overlaps lead to large measurement uncertainties of {+-}6%. In collaboration with LabSphere, NREL scientists have designed and implemented the One-Sun Multisource Solar Simulator (OSMSS), which enables automatic spectral adjustment with nine independent wavelength regions. This fiber-optic simulator allows researchers and developers to set the current to each junction independently, reducing errors relating to spectral effects. NREL also developed proprietary software that allows this fully automated simulator to rapidly 'build' a spectrum under which all junctions of a multijunction device are current matched and behave as they would under a reference spectrum. The OSMSS will reduce the measurement uncertainty for multijunction devices, while significantly reducing the current-voltage measurement time from several days to minutes. These features will enable highly accurate energy-rating predictions that take into account the nonlinear behavior of multijunction photovoltaic devices.
Date: April 1, 2012
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department