Researchers at Penn State University have devised a new approach for designing Tandem Solar Cells which has solved one of the challenges of this type of solar cell. They have proposed to use two thin-film solar cells/layers with similar lattice structures instead of using two light-absorbing layers with different lattice structures. They have achieved efficiency above 34% theoretically.
Tandem solar cells have attracted a lot of attention in recent years, becoming one of the trends amongst scientists and researchers for future development in the Solar PV segment. One of the drawbacks of tandem solar cells, however, is that it is expensive. According to PV-Magazine, in a two-terminal set up the cells can limit each other’s performance if not carefully ‘tuned’ with each other, while a four-terminal device would require more complex circuitry to manage each cell separately. Essentially there is an inherent complexity to tandem devices, and tuning cell structures in order to mitigate this effect within the cell or at the module level make them more expensive.
For their theoretical demonstration, the researchers at Penn State University used copper-indium-gallium-selenide (CIGS) and copper-zinc-tin-sulfide/selenide (CZTS) layers as they have similar lattice structures and can be deposited using the same veer deposition techniques.
Thin-film solar cells have a lesser share in the solar market due to their low efficiency, however, they are more affordable than conventional silicon wafer-based PV modules. Thus, this approach can make tandem solar cells not only more affordable but also can bring thin-film solar cells together with higher efficiency.
It is worth mentioning that perovskite-silicon tandem solar cell is the common solar cell structure in the designing of tandem solar cells with higher efficiency compared to conventional silicon solar cells.
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