Transparent Solar Cell

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Transparent Solar Cell
Building-Integrated Photovoltaic Technology
Solar Energy/ Photovoltaic
October 21st, 2013
ICFO-The Institute of Photonic Sciences

Imagine buildings in which the windows allow the sun‘s light to enter, and at the same time capture the energy from the sun needed to meet all their energy needs. The windows become productive solar cells that help us decrease our reliance on fossil fuels and advance towards a greener and cleaner environment. Researchers have
fabricated an optimal organic solar cell with a high level of transparency and a high power conversion efficiency, a promising step forward towards affordable, clean, more widely utilized and urban integrated renewable energies.

Organic Photovoltaic (OPV) cells have proven to be lighter in weight, more flexible, and even more sensitive to low light levels as well as indirect sun light, making them one of the most appealing photovoltaic technologies for many everyday applications. Among such advantages, a property that makes them even more interesting is their potential to be implemented as a semi-transparent device. To turn such cells into transparent ones, the back metal electrode must be thinned down to just a few nanometers, drastically reducing the device‘s capacity to collect sunlight. ICFO researchers have been able to implement a semi-transparent cell incorporating a photonic crystal and reach a cell performance almost as good as its opaque counterpart. By adding such extra photonic crystal to the cell, ICFO‘s scientists were able to increase the amount of infrared and ultraviolet light absorbed by the cell, reaching a 5.6% efficiency while preserving a transparency almost indistinguishable from normal glass. The results in efficiency and transparency make these cells an extremely competitive product for Building-Integrated Photovoltaic (BIPV) technologies. The color of the cells may be tuned by simply changing the layer configuration of the photonic crystal.


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