In science, the Shockley–Queisser limit, refers to the maximum theoretical efficiency of a conventional solar cell using a single p-n junction to collect power from the cell. It was first calculated by William Shockley and Hans-Joachim Queisser at Shockley Semiconductor in 1961, giving a maximum efficiency of 30% at 1.1 eV. However, this calculation used a simplified model of the solar spectrum, and more recent calculations give a maximum efficiency of 33.7% at 1.34 eV, but the value is still referred to as the Shockley-Queisser limit in their honor. The limit is one of the most fundamental to solar energy production with photovoltaic cells, and is considered to be one of the most important contributions in the field.
That is, of all the power contained in sunlight (about 1000 W/m²) falling on an ideal solar cell, only 33.7% of that could ever be turned into electricity (337 W/m²). The most popular solar cell material, silicon, has a less favorable band gap of 1.1 eV, resulting in a maximum efficiency of about 32%. Modern commercial mono-crystalline solar cells produce about 24% conversion efficiency, the losses due largely to practical concerns like “reflection off the front of the cell” & “light blockage from the thin wires on the cell surface”.
However, it must be mentioned that Shockley–Queisser limit only applies to “conventional solar cells” with a single p-n junction; tandem solar cells with multiple layers can (and do) outperform this limit, and so can solar thermal and certain other solar energy systems. In the extreme limit, for a tandem solar cell with an infinite number of layers, the corresponding limit is 86.8% using concentrated sunlight.
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Date: Mar 28, 2019 @ 13:24
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