New Trends in Solar Cells

New Trends in Solar Cells

Masafumi Yamaguchi (Toyota Technological Institute (TTI), Japan) and Laurentiu Fara (Polytechnic University of Bucharest, Romania & Academy of Romanian Scientists, Romania)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-1927-2.ch001
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Abstract

Photovoltaic (PV) power generation technology is one of the most promising renewable energy technologies because of the possibility of solving environmental problems and limited sources of energy. In order to realize widespread deployment of solar photovoltaics and contribute to further development in civilization, further development in the science and technology of PV is very important. That is, further improvements in conversion efficiencies and reliability and lowering the cost of solar cells and modules are necessary. Regarding conversion efficiencies of solar cells, because there is the Shockley–Queisser conversion efficiency limit of 31% at 1-sun and 41% under concentration for single bandgap solar cells, several approaches to overcome the Shockley–Queisser limit should be made. This book will provide readers some guidance to overcome the limit. This chapter presents the current status of solar cells and new trends in solar cells from the viewpoint of conversion efficiency.
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Introduction

Photovoltaics (PV) is the technology that generates electrical power from mainly semiconductors, recently from organic and other materials, when they are illuminated by photons. PV power generation technology is one of the most promising renewable energy technologies because of possibility of solving environmental problems and limited sources for energy. Table 1 shows sustainable potentials of renewable energy sources presented by N. S. Lewis (2005). From the 1.2x105 TW (the Solar constant is 1.76x105 TW) of solar energy that strikes the earth’s surface, a practical sitting-constrained terrestrial global solar power potential value is about 600 TW. Thus, for a 10% efficient solar farm, at least 60 TW of power could be supplied from terrestrial solar energy resources. Therefore, solar energy is the only renewable energy resource that has enough terrestrial energy potential to satisfy a 20 TW or more carbon-free supply.

Table 1.
Sustainable potentials of renewable energy sources (Lewis, 2005)
Renewable EnergiesTheoretical Potential
(TW)
Technically
Feasible Potential
(TW)
Economically
Feasible Potential
(TW)
Hydro Electric4.61.50.9
Geothermal3011.6
Ocean Energy2.7
Wind502
Biomass205-73
Solar Photovoltaics1.2x10560060

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