Practical limits of multijunction solar cells

Peters IM, Rodríguez Gallegos CD, Lüer L, Hauch J, Brabec CJ (2023)

Publication Type: Journal article

Publication year: 2023


DOI: 10.1002/pip.3705


Multijunction solar cells offer a path to very high conversion efficiency, exceeding 60% in theory. Under ideal conditions, efficiency increases monotonically with the number of junctions. In this study, we explore technical and economic mechanisms acting on tandem solar cells. We find that these mechanisms produce limitations that are the more pronounced the greater the number of junction is and, hence, limit the ideal number of junctions, as well as the corresponding efficiencies. Spectral variations induce current losses in series-connected tandem solar cells. For Denver, we find that these losses reduce achievable harvesting efficiencies to 51% for non-concentrated light and that they restrict the ideal number of junctions to less than nine. Independently operated solar cells suffer from optical losses with similar consequences. Even high optical efficiencies of 99% restrict the ideal number of junctions to below 10 and reduce achievable efficiencies by more than 10%. Only architectures with a sequential cell illumination are more resilient to these losses. Restricting available materials reveals that a sufficiently low band gap for the bottom cell of 0.9 eV or below is expedient to realize high efficiencies. Economic considerations show that five junctions or less are economically ideal for most conceivable applications.

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Peters, I.M., Rodríguez Gallegos, C.D., Lüer, L., Hauch, J., & Brabec, C.J. (2023). Practical limits of multijunction solar cells. Progress in Photovoltaics.


Peters, Ian Marius, et al. "Practical limits of multijunction solar cells." Progress in Photovoltaics (2023).

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