Space Methods

The most realistic environment on which calibration of solar cells can be performed is indeed outside the atmosphere. The first constraint of these methods is their relatively high cost compared with the other two extraterrestrial methods and their lower level of maturity.

• Space shuttle: On board the space shuttle, the Solar Cell Calibration Experiment (SCCE) was conducted in two flights in 1983/84, where solar cells from different agencies, institutions and space solar cell industries around the world were calibrated and returned back to Earth [6].

• Photovoltaic Engineering Testbed: This is a NASA-proposed facility to be flown in the International Space Station, where after exposure and calibration of cells in the space environment, they are returned back to Earth for laboratory use [7].

• Lost Twin: This is an ESA-proposed method, based on the flight of several solar cells on a non-recoverable spacecraft. Cells nearly identical to the flight ones are kept on Earth. The orbiting cells are calibrated and these calibrated values are given to their respective twin cells.