Introduction to Thin-Film Photovoltaics

Thomas Kirchartz and Uwe Rau

1.1

Introduction

From the early days of photovoltaics until today, thin-film solar cells have always competed with technologies based on single-crystal materials such as Si and GaAs. Owing to their amorphous or polycrystalline nature, thin-film solar cells always suffered from power conversion efficiencies lower than those of the bulk technol­ogies. This drawback was and still is counterbalanced by several inherent advantages of thin-film technologies. Since in the early years of photovoltaics space applications were the driving force for the development of solar cells, the argument in favor of thin films was their potential lighter weight as compared with bulk materials.

An extended interest in solar cells as a source of renewable energy emerged in the mid-se...

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Preface

Since the beginning of the 1980s, the rate of growth in the use of solar collectors for domestic hot water preparation has shown that solar heating systems are both mature and technically reliable. However, for several years, solar thermal systems seemed to be restricted to this application.

When the first systems for combined domestic hot water preparation and space heating, called solar combisystems, appeared on the market, complex and individually designed systems were the rule.

The combination of thermally well insulated buildings and low-temperature heat supply systems offered a wealth of new possibilities for solar space heating systems with short-term storage...

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Preface

The use of ambient energy systems (AES) for indoor applications is often limited to products of low power (microwatts, ^W). This book defends the case that, under certain conditions, AES based on photovoltaic solar cells may be used for higher-power devices (mW rating). Such devices, which will soon be available [43], would allow fully autonomous sensor nodes which have a number of advantages. One is that wiring, which may otherwise be the most expensive element of a sensor network installation, could be avoided. In the case of battery-powered sensor networks, battery maintenance could be reduced.

The motivation for the book is both financial and ecological, as two examples for the United States show: it has been estimated that a source energy saving of $US 55 billion per annum, or the equ...

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High-Efficiency Solar Cells

Physics, Materials, and Devices

As arenewable energy source, solar energy can be harvested and will be increasingly important in the inevitable transition from our current level of dependence on fossil fuels. One of the biggest challenges in photovoltaic technology is how to increase the photocurrent conversion efficiency. Since solar cells were developed several decades ago, consistent efforts have been made in exploring variables that influence optimal efficiency. In recent years, research into high-efficiency solar cells has accelerated with the rapid emergence of new materials and devices showing promising performance characteristics...

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Solar PV and Wind Energy Conversion Systems

Solar PV and wind energy is an integral part of different renewable energy resources, in general, and, in particular, it is the main and continuous input variable from the practically inexhaustible sun. Solar energy is expected to play a very significant role in the future especially in developing countries, but it also has potential in developed countries. Over the past few years, wind energy has shown the fastest rate of growth of any form of electricity generation with its development stimulated by concerns of national policy makers over climate change, energy diversity and security of supply. The material presented in this book has been chosen to provide a comprehensive account of solar energy modeling methods based on MATLAB/SIMULINK.

The book is intended for later year undergraduate,...

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Electromagnetic Foundations of Solar Radiation Collection

Electromagnetic Foundations of Solar Radiation Collection

This book is intended to be a technology resource for students of electrical science and for electrical engineering departments in universities and colleges with an interest in developing courses focused on the rapidly burgeoning topic of solar radiation collection. This development has been awakened by a growing concern of the impending dangers, for future generations, of climate change. The author hopes that this text will contribute, in some small way, to the evolution of a technological route out of our self-inflicted predicament caused by an unsustainable addiction to fossil fuels.

During the first decade of the twenty-first century, it is probably now fair to say that the vast majority of reputable scientists with an interest ...

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Solar Energy Fundamentals and Modeling Techniques

Atmosphere, Environment, Climate Change and Renewable Energy

Atmospheric and environmental pollution as a result of extensive fossil fuel ex­ploitation in almost all human activities has led to some undesirable phenomena that have not been experienced before in known human history. They are varied and include global warming, the greenhouse affect, climate change, ozone layer deple­tion, and acid rain. Since 1970 it has been understood scientifically by experiments and research that these phenomena are closely related to fossil fuel uses because they emit greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4) which hin­der the long-wave terrestrial radiation from escaping into space and, consequently, the earth troposphere becomes warmer...

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Solar Power Generation

Technology, New Concepts & Policy

P. Jayarama Reddy

The amount of solar energy reaching the Earth is more than 10,000 times the current energy consumption by man. This resource is larger than all the alternative power sources currently available. With the rapidly growing population of mankind, the anticipated depletion of fossil fuels, the dangers associated with pollution such as acid rain and global warming and the hazards associated with using nuclear power generation, this resource can no longer be ignored.

The heating effect of solar energy can of course be used to directly heat water for domestic applications and passively heat buildings. Indirect differential heating of the Earth produces the wind which in turn can produce wave energy...

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