May 20, 2010
High Efficiency Concentrator Solar Cells And Modules
Solar energy will play a crucial role in the energy mix of tomorrow as solar energy is available in unlimited quantities. With the aid of concentrator solar cells, even more sunlight can be converted into electricity.
Climate change and ever scarcer fossil resources will determine the energy mix of the future. Solar energy will play an integral role in this regard. Dr. Andreas Bett and Dr. Frank Dimroth of the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE in Freiburg developed metamorphic triple-junction solar cell consisting of III-V compound semiconductors: gallium indium phosphide, gallium indium arsenide and germanium. This special structure makes it possible to optimize the use of almost the entire solar spectrum for energy production. Researchers have been able to transform more sunlight into power than ever before, at a record degree of efficiency of 41.1 percent. In recognition of their work, they are receiving the 2010 Joseph von Fraunhofer Prize.
To facilitate the swift transfer of technology from the laboratory to industry, a demonstration laboratory was constructed at the institute, with the same machines that would be used in industry. Here, researchers are developing and testing production processes for the construction and connection technology, module integration and quality control. A spin-off of ISE "“ Concentrix Solar GmbH "“ produces the concentrator systems that, for example, feed solar power into the grid from a solar park in Spain with 25 percent system efficiency. For the development of metamorphic triple-junction solar cells, the team has been closely collaborating for years with AZUR Space Solar Power in Heilbronn, the leading European manufacturer of solar cells for space. This partner is aiming to bring the highly efficient solar cells to the market by 2011.
Image Caption: Dr. Andreas Bett and Dr. Frank Dimroth (left to right) working on highest-efficiency solar cells and concentrating solar modules to make solar energy cheaper. (Ã© Fraunhofer / Dirk Mahler)
On the Net: