Single junction crystalline silicon (c-Si) solar cells are reaching their practical efficiency limit while perovskite/c-Si tandem solar cells have achieved efficiencies above the theoretical limit of single junction c-Si solar cells. Next to low-thermal budget silicon heterojunction architecture, high-thermal budget carrier-selective passivating contacts (CSPCs) based on polycrystalline-SiO x (poly-SiO x) also constitute a promising architecture for high efficiency perovskite/c-Si tandem solar cells. In this work, we present the development of c-Si bottom cells based on high-temperature poly-SiO x CSPCs and demonstrate novel high-efficiency four-terminal (4T) and two-terminal (2T) perovskite/c-Si tandem solar cells. First, we tuned the ultra-thin, thermally grown SiO x. Then we optimized the passivation properties of p-type and n-type doped poly-SiO x CSPCs. Here, we have optimized the p-type doped poly-SiO x CSPC on textured interfaces via a two-step annealing process. Finally, we integrated such bottom solar cells in both 4T and 2T tandems, achieving 28.1% and 23.2% conversion efficiency, respectively.
In recent years, developing dopant-free carrier-selective contacts, instead of heavily doped Si layer (either externally or internally), for crystalline silicon (c-Si) solar cells have attracted considerable interests with the aims to reduce parasitic light absorption and fabrication cost. However, the stability still remains a big challenge for dopant-free contacts, especially when thermal treatment is involved, which limits their industrial adoption. In this study, a perovskite material ZnTiO 3 combining with an ultrathin (~1 nm) SiO 2 film and Al layer is used as an electron-selective contact, forming an isotype heterojunction with n-type c-Si. The perovskite/c-Si heterojunction solar cells exhibit a performance-enhanced effect by post-metallization annealing when the annealing temperature is 200-350 °C. Thanks to the post-annealing treatment, an impressive efficiency of 22.0% has been demonstrated, which is 3.5% in absolute value higher than that of the as-fabricated solar cell. A detailed material and device characterization reveal that post annealing leads to the diffusion of Al into ZnTiO 3 film, thus doping the film and reducing its work function. Besides, the coverage of SiO 2 is also improved. Both these two factors contribute to the enhanced passivation effect and electron selectivity of the ZnTiO 3-based contact, and hence improve the cell performance.
The present article discusses the investigation of CuIn 1-xGa xS 2 (CIGS) thin films for photovoltaic applications. For decades, a Cu-rich composition has been used to create solar cells with efficiencies of up to 13.5%; however, interest in chalcopyrite sulfide has recently been revived due to its high and adjustable bandgap, making it a serious candidate as a top cell in tandem configurations. Although chalcopyrite selenides share many properties with CIGS thin films, crucial differences have been reported. To further understand these materials, we studied more than 500 samples of absorbers and resulting solar cells. First, we found that the compositional window for obtaining single-phase CIGS thin films with a 3-stage co-evaporation process is very narrow. Second, we reported that a combination of low copper content and sodium addition during growth is required to maximize the Photoluminescence intensity ( i.e. to minimize the absorber-related open-circuit voltage losses). Finally, we showed that solar cell performance and stability depend not only on absorber quality but also on phenomena at interfaces (absorber/buffer and grain boundaries). Altogether, we formulate growth recommendations for the manufacture of stable CIGS/CdS solar cells with state-of-the-art efficiency.
Multijunction solar cells offer a path to very high conversion efficiency, exceeding 60% in theory. Under ideal conditions, efficiency increases monotonically with the number of junctions. In this study, we explore technical and economic mechanisms acting on tandem solar cells. We find that these mechanisms produce limitations that are the more pronounced the greater the number of junction is and, hence, limit the ideal number of junctions, as well as the corresponding efficiencies. Spectral variations induce current losses in series-connected tandem solar cells. For Denver, we find that these losses reduce achievable harvesting efficiencies to 51% for non-concentrated light, and that they restrict the ideal number of junctions to less than nine. Independently operated solar cells suffer from optical losses with similar consequences. Optical efficiencies of 99% restrict the ideal number of junctions to below ten, and reduce achievable efficiencies by more than 10%. Only architectures with a sequential cell illumination are more resilient to these losses. Restricting available materials reveals that a sufficiently low band gap for the bottom cell of 0.9 eV or below is expedient to realize high efficiencies. Economic considerations show that five junctions or less are economically ideal for most conceivable applications.