June 22, 2008
June 22, 2008
June 25, 2008
Division Experimentation & Lab-Oriented Studies
13.1308.1 - 13.1308.10
Undergraduate Research in New Concept in Solar Energy Capture: Theory, Modeling, and Simulation
This work describes a newly initiated undergraduate research work on new concept in solar energy capture. Recently reported photovoltaic efficiencies of novel solar terrestrial concentrator cells have reached record levels. In fact, it is reported that metamorphic, or lattice-mismatched, GaInP/ GaInAs/ Ge 3-junction cells have reached 40.7% efficiency . Efficiency higher that 40% was also reported from measurements on lattice-matched 3- junction cells. Under such dramatic changes, research on all aspects of solar cells, including theory, modeling and simulation should be highly encouraged at the earliest level in engineering curricula. Solar energy is a major source of alternative energy and is poised to reach more than 160 GW in the US by 2025. The scarcity of courses dedicated solely to renewable energy and particularly to solar energy in most undergraduate curricula will weigh negatively on the preparation of undergraduate engineering and science students to tackle the expected renewable energy boom in the 21st century. The undergraduate research project started in the department of electrical engineering at UDC is intended to fill this gap. A thorough understanding of the solar cell theory as well as a good understanding of the ongoing worldwide research on solar cells will lay a good ground for meaningful undergraduate research on the subject.
Keywords: III-V Semiconductors, Concentrator Cells, High-Efficiency, Multijunction Solar Cell, Gallium Arsenide Based Cells, Lattice-Mismatched, Metamorphic
II. Solar Energy Basics
a. Solar cell equations
The basic structure of a solar cell is an illuminated (collection of photons, hv) P-N junction as depicted in Fig. 1. When the junction is not illuminated, there exists a junction built-in potential resulting from the formation of a space charge zone at the junction level as shown in Fig. 2. When the junction is uniformly illuminated by photons with hv > Eg (energy gap of the junction material), electron-hole pairs (EHP) will be generated at a rate gop (in EHP/ cm3.s) and will participate in the diode current. Neglecting the recombination and generation within the space charge zone W, the photo- generated current, directed from N to P will subtract from the total current in the diode from P to N. The total electrons generated per second within the N and P regions (with cross sectional area A) is (A Ln gop + A Lp gop), where Ln and Lp represent the diffusion length of the holes in the N region and of the electrons in the P region respectively.
Lakeou, S., & Ososanya, E., & Mahmoud, W., & Mbengue, F., & Coboyo, B., & SIrag, A., & Latigo, B. (2008, June), Undergraduate Research In New Concepts In Solar Energy Capture: Theory, Modeling And Simulation Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. https://peer.asee.org/4024
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