Two-sided solar cells can gather scattered gentle to assemble extra vitality


A bifacial perovskite / silicon tandem prototype that was tested at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Saudi Arabia. The new technology is the result of a collaboration involving researchers from U of T Engineering. Photo credit: Michele De Bastiani

To increase the performance of solar panels, an international collaboration – including researchers from King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) and U of T Engineering – created a bifacial, or two-sided tandem solar cell, built by merging the solar panels together, best of the perovskite and silicon technologies.

In the field, the light comes mainly directly from the sun. Conventional tandem solar cells can already convert this light into electricity more efficiently than conventional silicon-only solar cells by absorbing additional wavelengths of the light.

Now the researchers have recognized that even more energy can be collected with a two-sided tandem configuration. Light reflected and scattered from the ground – known as “albedo” – can also be collected to significantly increase the current of a tandem solar cell.

The study, published today in the journal Nature Energy, details how the team engineered the perovskite / silicon device to exceed the currently accepted performance limits for the tandem configuration.

“By using the albedo, we can now generate higher currents than conventional tandems without increasing manufacturing costs,” said Dr. Michele De Bastiani, the co-lead author of this study. The study’s authors include university professor Ted Sargent (ECE) and ECE postdoctoral fellow Yi Hou.

The potential for sensing indirect sunlight has been explored in the past, but without experimental verification. In addition to U of T Engineering, KAUST researchers worked with staff from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology and the University of Bologna to solve the scientific and technical challenges required to incorporate indirect sunlight into the energy collection capacity of their modules.

With this knowledge, they tested the bifacial tandem solar cell under outdoor conditions and achieved efficiencies that go beyond any commercial silicon solar panel.

“Silicon-only bifacial solar cells are rapidly becoming an increasing share of the photovoltaic market as they can result in a 20% gain in performance compared to that. Using this concept in perovskite / silicon tandems is now opening up opportunities for extremely high levels of power generation affordable prices costs “concluded Professor Stefaan De Wolf (KAUST).

Tandem machines feel the heat

More information:
Michele De Bastiani et al. Efficient bifacial monolithic perovskite / silicon tandem solar cells using Bandgap Engineering, Nature Energy (2021). DOI: 10.1038 / s41560-020-00756-8 Provided by the University of Toronto

Quote: Double-sided solar cells can collect scattered light to collect more energy (2021, January 12). Retrieved January 12, 2021 from

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