Pathways for advancement in PV technology are described by scientists.

According to an international team of scientists, further advancements in PV solar cell technology will have a significant impact as PV is installed at “multi-terawatt scale” during the following two decades.

In an open-access research published in the journal Cell, ten scientists predicted the innovation paths for the main PV cell technologies during the following five years.

Though installed PV capacity globally surpasses 1 terawatt (1,000 GW), the authors claim that PV still contributes just 5% to 6% of the world’s power production. In order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, there is a “urgent need” for deploying solar power at multi-terawatt (TW) capacity during the next two decades. As a result, “PV gadget development assumes on new urgency and impact.”

The authors assert that ongoing research that results in “even relatively small advances” in manufacturing, reliability, and efficiency “will have major effects in the future at multi-TW scale,” as these elements together create “the increasingly compelling value proposition” for PV power generation.

Despite having a market share of 95 percent in 2022, crystalline silicon PV may have a different role or perhaps be merged with other technologies in a “TW-scale future” with “PV everywhere,” according to the authors.By 2025, TOPCon (tunnel oxide treating contact), a silicon PV technology with a 23% market share, will “overcome” PERC (passivated emission and rear cell) PV production and “is expected to emerge as the solution choice for new-cell construction in the US,” according to the report.

According to the authors, single-junction hypothetical maximum efficiency of 29.4% is being approached by crystalline silicon PV cells.

In order to combine the most recent HJT or TOPCon technology with a new interdigitated again contact (IBC) structure, “which might achieve an ultimate possible efficiency of 28% probably as soon as 2025,” research is still needed in order to create high-temperature, selective area protecting connections on both sides of the PV cell (advanced TOPCon), enhance the apparent transparency and electrical conductivity of a heterojunction technology (HJT) contacts (advanced HJT), and develop advanced TOPCon.

However, when the theoretical limit gets closer, “several novel forms of deterioration, called carrier-induced deterioration, and metastable in nature defects are unveiled,” the authors write.

Tandem engineering

The authors note that numerous tandem solar cell methods have been put out to surpass the single-junction efficiency restriction.

The most active area of study right now is monolith 2-terminal perovskite/silicon dual cell development. This field is “considered by many as an especially probable and cost-effective solution,” and it has already produced an all-time high efficiency of cells of 33.7 percent for a small-area (1 square centimeter) cells.

The effectiveness of the top cell is “significantly more important that the effectiveness of the bottom cell” for a thirty percent efficient 2-terminal twin cell, therefore “almost any” silicon cell technology would be “a viable competitor as a bottom cell.”

III-V multi-junction

The United States Department of Energy defines multi-junction III-V photovoltaic (PV) cells as those that employ numerous bandgaps, or junctions, each adjusted to absorb a particular portion of the solar spectrum in order to achieve efficiencies exceeding 45%. Multi-junction III-V PV cells may allow for “significant space-based power generation,” according to the authors.

The essay, titled “Photovoltaic gadget innovation for a solar future,” was prepared by five scientists from the United States National Renewable Energy Laboratory & a further five from First Solar and research facilities in Germany, the United States, and China.

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