Education

We enjoy the services by many experts in the field of solar energy equipment and solar technology who hold Solar Energy workshops. In these workshops, applicants are walked through the process of building solar cells.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Supplying

We have been active in providing solar cell dyes, QD based cells as well as thin layer cells to laboratories and industrial customers. We are ready to work with interested parties on providing equipment for solar cell labs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Building-Integrated PV Markets to Top $6 Billion in 2017

According to a newNanoMarkets report, the total market for building-integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) is expected to grow from $2.4 billion this year to nearly $6 billion by 2017 and nearly $23 billion by 2021.

NanoMarkets’ BIPV Markets Analysis and Forecasts 2014-2021 broadly segments the market into glass and non-glass products. Theh report tracks the evolution of BIPV glass technologies and products, exploring the potential of current technologies to evolve further as well as their limitations, with emphasis on the need for better materials and technologies. Future technology candidates such as thin films, dye-sensitized (DSC), and organic cells (OPV) for BIPV glass also are evaluated.

The report also discusses the characteristics and market potential of non-glass BIPV roofing and wall systems, and how these emerging non-glass BIPV products are changing the face of present-day BIPV glass products.

This report covers the markets for all the materials listed above with granular eight-year forecasts in both megawatt (MW) and dollar terms for BIPV products, with breakouts by end user, type of product, and type of PV technology. The report also provides in-depth analysis of the all the leading firms involved in the BIPV space.

Companies discussed in this report include Acomet Solar, AGC Glass, ArcelorMittal, Avancis, Belectric, CertainTeed, Derbigum, Deutsche Amphibolin-Werke (DAW), Dow Solar, Dyesol, Exeger, Flexcell, Folienwerk Wolfen, G24, G2e, H+S Solar, Hanergy, Heliatek, HyET Solar, Manz, Meyer Burger, Onyx Solar, Oxford Photovoltaics, Pilkington, PolySolar, Rofin-Baasel Lasertech, SABIC, Sekisiu Heim, Smartenergy Renewables, Solar Frontier, Solon Solitaire, Soluxtec, Skyco Shadings, Solaronix, and SwissInso.

  • New technologies, from cell designs to materials, such as PERC, metal wrap-through, perovskite, and smart wire connections, are expected to increase the efficiency and consequently marketability of BIPV products. Encapsulation is a key area of improvement, especially for BIPV glass.
  • Multifunctional BIPV will be perceived as a better return on investment and justify the higher costs. Examples include semi-transparent arrays of crystalline cells for diffused natural lighting, roofing systems addressing details such as flashings, capping, and roof penetration, and hollow glass to provide heat and sound insulation.
  • Standardization will help reduce the complexity (and thus costs) of BIPV installations; this already has made headway into products such as roof tiles and shingles in UK.
  • BIPV’s selling points, aesthetic appeal and flexibility, continue to improve. Development advances range from frameless BIPV modules offering uniform color and variety in form and structure, including transparency and curvature. c-Si can be thinned to become flexible like metal foil, enabling curved panels for vaults or windows; CIGS and CdTe thin-film PV technologies also address flexibility.
  • A CIGS revival is emerging amid increased efficiencies and reduced production costs — which combined with its qualities of flexibility and light transmission are especially suitable for BIPV applications. Dye-sensitized and organic solar cells (DSC/OPV) technologies also are expected to gain ground in BIPV due to their low-cost processing on glass and performance in less-than-ideal light conditions.
  • Monolithically integrated roofing, in which there’s no clear distinction between the energy and roofing subsystems, still hasn’t really emerged, though there are monolithically integrated modules available. Ultimately NanoMarkets sees BIPV moving towards fully integrated roofing systems, though we still don’t see this happening in the next few years.
  • BIPV: What’s Old is New Again  While the vast majority of BIPV revenue will come new construction over the next several years, NanoMarkets predicts the burgeoning market for retrofit BIPV, building add-ons such as awnings, balconies, and additional stories, will catch up to new construction by the end of the forecasting period. In Europe, demand for BIPV lies in the retrofit market; NanoMarkets believes in a few years its market share will go up to 40%.

Changes In Production Lower Costs Of Perovskite Solar Panels

Perovskite, a calcium-titanium-based mineral, has recently been making waves as a conductor of solar electricity, and new research from the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne may make solar panels made from this humble compound more affordable than ever.

Due to its relatively simple construction, perovskite is comparably affordable and readily available compared to other more exotic materials used in photovoltaic solar cells. Unfortunately, while the materials required to construct this new class of solar cells are inexpensive, the other processes involved in making them are not. New models from the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne skip an expensive step without compromising the efficiency of their cells.

Solar cell construction
High-efficiency solar cells have been available for many years, but due to their prohibitive cost, they have remained largely in laboratories and not in the home. High-purity crystalline silicon, for example, has been the gold standard for photovoltaic performance since the early 2000s with ratios of light to electricity reaching around 25 percent. However, if you want a high-purity crystalline silicon photovoltaic cell, you are going to have to pay top dollar. These are not meant for everyday use in providing electricity for a family home due to the expensive and energy-intensive process of growing crystals and depositing vapor that are necessary to create these cells.

Like anything, when you compromise on the price, you get a lower-quality product. This is the case with solar cells made from photosensitive organic polymers. These devices are less expensive since the processes and materials required to fabricate them are much simpler and more available. However, even after decades of research, their efficiency tops out around 11 percent.

One of the reasons perovskite photovoltaics have made such an impression is that they exploded onto the scene in a matter of years rather than decades. When sandwiched with tin-oxide and titanium dioxide, this calcium-titanium compound was able to reach efficiency rates of nearly 16 percent after little over a year of research. More impressively, that rate seems to be increasing as more studies are conducted.

Photovoltaics for the people
Perhaps the biggest reason for the rapid evolution of perovskite solar cells is that scientists can work on them with very little in the way of specialized facilities or equipment. Just about anyone with an understanding of photovoltaic chemistry and engineering research and a standard wet chemistry lab can contribute to perovskite research. That is because these deceptively simple solar cells can be constructed using liquid-phase chemical reactions and assembling the materials using spray or spin coating methods.

Another aspect of perovskite that has caught the attention of researchers and engineers alike is that it solves an innate problem of working with dye-coated films of titanium dioxide, one of the key elements of most contemporary photovoltaic cells. Typically, the titanium dioxide must be layered rather thick, resulting in some complications and hurdles for the creation of flexible solar cells. Perovskite, on the other hand, can be layered much more thinly, meaning it can be used to create photovoltaics that are more flexible than what is currently available.

Cutting production costs
Already, perovskite solar cells are a good compromise between cost and efficiency, however, they are reliant on hole-transportation layers as part of the sandwich of composites that makes the cell possible. Unfortunately, the materials and processes required to make the hole-transportation level are expensive and not conducive to long-term sustainability.

A team of scientists from China, led by Hongwei Han, PhD, and Michael Grätzel, PhD, from EPFL have recently devised a method for creating perovskite photovoltaics that do not require the use of a hole-transportation layer. Significantly, the resulting solar cells are not only less expensive, since they do not make use of the costly hole-transportation layer, but they also have a 12.8 percent conversion efficiency and more than 1000 hours of stable use under full sunlight.

The researchers were able to accomplish this feat by drop-casting a solution of lead iodide, methylammonium iodide, and 5-ammoniumvaleric acid iodide through a porous carbon film. To support this solution, the team used a double layer of titanium dioxide and zirconium dioxide covered by a porous carbon film and amino acid templating agent to catalyze perovskite nucleation and crystal growth inside the pores. This process is not only less expensive and complicated than the fabrication of hole-transportation layers, but the resultant crystals are more conductive and stable.

One of the most interesting and novel attributes of perovskite photovoltaic cells is that they are not only flexible, but they are largely transparent. One of the most commonly cited complaints regarding common silicon-based solar panels is that they are unsightly. They are big, bulky and black, and they can significantly detract from the aesthetics of more traditional architecture. The flexibility and transparency of perovskite solar panels introduces a huge potential for engineering application, including photovoltaic windows and non-intrusive, solar charged, wearable electronics.

New Dyes Help Solar Cells Harvest More Light

Researchers have developed zinc porphyrin dyes that harvest light in both the visible and near-infrared parts of the spectrum.

Dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs) rely on dyes that absorb light to mobilize a current of electrons and are a promising source of clean energy. The new research by Jishan Wu at the A*STAR Institute of Materials Research and Engineering and colleagues in Singapore suggests that chemical modification of zinc porphyrin dyes could enhance the energy output of DSSCs.

Zinc porphyrin dyes were used to create solar cells that can absorb both visible and near-infrared light

DSSCs are easier and cheaper to manufacture than conventional silicon solar cells, but they currently have a lower efficiency. Ruthenium-based dyes have been traditionally used in DSSCs, but in 2011 researchers developed a more efficient dye based on a zinc atom surrounded by a ring-shaped molecule called a porphyrin. Solar cells using this new dye, called YD2-o-C8, convert visible light into electricity with an efficiency of up to 12.3%. Wu’s team aimed to improve that efficiency by developing a zinc porphyrin dye that can also absorb infrared light.

The most successful dyes developed by Wu’s team, WW-5 and WW-6, unite a zinc porphyrin core with a system of fused carbon rings bridged by a nitrogen atom, known as an N-annulated perylene group. Solar cells containing these dyes absorbed more infrared light than YD2-o-C8 and had efficiencies of up to 10.5%, matching the performance of an YD2-o-C8 cell under the same testing conditions.

Theoretical calculations indicate that connecting the porphyrin and perylene sections of these dyes by a carbon–carbon triple bond, which acts as an electron-rich linker, improved the flow of electrons between them. This bond also reduced the light energy needed to excite electrons in the molecule, boosting the dye’s ability to harvest infrared light.

Adding bulky chemical groups to the dyes also improved their solubility and prevented them from aggregating—something that tends to reduce the efficiency of DSSCs.

However, both WW-5 and WW-6 are slightly less efficient than YD2-o-C8 at converting visible light into electricity, and they also produce a lower voltage. “We are now trying to solve this problem through modifications based on the chemical structure of WW-5 and WW-6,” says Wu.

Comparing the results from more perylene–porphyrin dyes should indicate ways to overcome these hurdles, and may even extend light absorption further into the infrared. “The top priority is to improve the power conversion efficiency,” says Wu. “Our target is to push the efficiency to more than 13% in the near future.”

Self-Cooling Solar Cells For Better Performance & Longevity

Scientists may have overcome one of the major hurdles in developing high-efficiency, long-lasting solar cells—keeping them cool, even in the blistering heat of the noonday Sun.

By adding a specially patterned layer of silica glass to the surface of ordinary solar cells, a team of researchers led by Shanhui Fan, an electrical engineering professor at Stanford University in California has found a way to let solar cells cool themselves by shepherding away unwanted thermal radiation. The researchers describe their innovative design in the premiere issue of The Optical Society’s (OSA) new open-access journal Optica.

Solar cells are among the most promising and widely used renewable energy technologies on the market today. Though readily available and easily manufactured, even the best designs convert only a fraction of the energy they receive from the Sun into usable electricity.

Part of this loss is the unavoidable consequence of converting sunlight into electricity. A surprisingly vexing amount, however, is due to solar cells overheating.

Under normal operating conditions, solar cells can easily reach temperatures of 130 degrees Fahrenheit (55 degrees Celsius) or more. These harsh conditions quickly sap efficiency and can markedly shorten the lifespan of a solar cell. Actively cooling solar cells, however—either by ventilation or coolants—would be prohibitively expensive and at odds with the need to optimize exposure to the Sun.

The newly proposed design avoids these problems by taking a more elegant, passive approach to cooling. By embedding tiny pyramid- and cone-shaped structures on an incredibly thin layer of silica glass, the researchers found a way of redirecting unwanted heat—in the form of infrared radiation—from the surface of solar cells, through the atmosphere, and back into space.

“Our new approach can lower the operating temperature of solar cells passively, improving energy conversion efficiency significantly and increasing the life expectancy of solar cells,” said Linxiao Zhu, a physicist at Stanford and lead author on the Optica paper. “These two benefits should enable the continued success and adoption of solar cell technology.”

Solar cells work by directly converting the Sun’s rays into electrical energy. As photons of light pass into the semiconductor regions of the solar cells, they knock off electrons from the atoms, allowing electricity to flow freely, creating a current. The most successful and widely used designs, silicon semiconductors, however, convert less than 30 percent of the energy they receive from the Sun into electricity – even at peak efficiency.

The solar energy that is not converted generates waste heat, which inexorably lessens a solar cell’s performance. For every one-degree Celsius (1.8 degree F) increase in temperature, the efficiency of a solar cell declines by about half a percent.

“That decline is very significant,” said Aaswath Raman, a postdoctoral scholar at Stanford and co-author on the paper. “The solar cell industry invests significant amounts of capital to generate improvements in efficiency. Our method of carefully altering the layers that cover and enclose the solar cell can improve the efficiency of any underlying solar cell. This makes the design particularly relevant and important.”

In addition, solar cells “age” more rapidly when their temperatures increase, with the rate of aging doubling for every increase of 18 degrees Fahrenheit.

To passively cool the solar cells, allowing them to give off excess heat without spending energy doing so, requires exploiting the basic properties of light as well as a special infrared “window” through Earth’s atmosphere.

Different wavelengths of light interact with solar cells in very different ways—with visible light being the most efficient at generating electricity while infrared is more efficient at carrying heat. Different wavelengths also bend and refract differently, depending on the type and shape of the material they pass through.
The researchers harnessed these basic principles to allow visible light to pass through the added silica layer unimpeded while enhancing the amount of energy that is able to be carried away from the solar cells at thermal wavelengths.

“Silica is transparent to visible light, but it is also possible to fine-tune how it bends and refracts light of very specific wavelengths,” said Fan, who is the corresponding author on the Optica paper. “A carefully designed layer of silica would not degrade the performance of the solar cell but it would enhance radiation at the predetermined thermal wavelengths to send the solar cell’s heat away more effectively.”

To test their idea, the researchers compared two different silica covering designs: one a flat surface approximately 5 millimeters thick and the other a thinner layer covered with pyramids and micro-cones just a few microns (one-thousandth of a millimeter) thick in any dimension. The size of these features was essential. By precisely controlling the width and height of the pyramids and micro-cones, they could be tuned to refract and redirect only the unwanted infrared wavelengths away from the solar cell and back out into space.

“The goal was to lower the operating temperature of the solar cell while maintaining its solar absorption,” said Fan. “We were quite pleased to see that while the flat layer of silica provided some passive cooling, the patterned layer of silica considerably outperforms the 5 mm-thick uniform silica design, and has nearly identical performance as the ideal scheme.”

Zhu and his colleagues are currently fabricating these devices and performing experimental tests on their design. Their next step is to demonstrate radiative cooling of solar cells in an outdoor environment. “We think that this work addresses an important technological problem in the operation and optimization of solar cells,” he concluded, “and thus has substantial commercialization potential.”

Paper: L. Zhu, A. Raman., K. Wang, M. Anoma, S. Fan, “Radiative Cooling of Solar Cells,” Optica 1, 32-38 (2014).

Originaly published on The Optical Society website.

China’s Hanergy buys U.S. developer of thin-film solar cells

(Reuters) – Chinese clean energy generator Hanergy Holding Group Ltd on Wednesday said it has broadened its solar power technology portfolio with the purchase of Alta Devices Inc, a California-based developer of thin-film solar cells.

The acquisition comes a year after Hanergy bought Arizona-based Global Solar Energy Inc, which in turn followed the purchases of Silicon Valley start-up MiaSole and Germany’s Q Cells AG [QCEG.UL] subsidiary Solibro GmbH.

Hanergy bought all of Alta Devices to further strengthen the Chinese company’s position in the solar technology market, the parent of Hanergy Solar Group Ltd (0566.HK) said in a statement without disclosing the purchase price.

“Hanergy plans to actively expand the application of Alta Devices’ products in various mobile power application areas, ranging from emergency charging of mobile phones, to the automotive sector and the Internet of Things,” Hanergy said in the statement.

Alta Devices, established in 2008, bases its solar cell technology on gallium arsenide rather than the more commonly used silicon.

Its cells can convert 30.8 percent of light received into electricity, Alta Devices Chief Executive Chris Norris said at a news conference called to announce the acquisition. That compared with an industry standard of around 25 percent.

That rate of conversion is the highest in the world and is high enough to even turn light received from indoor lighting into electricity, Norris said on Thursday in Beijing.

Alta Devices wants to see its technology used in electronics products and vehicles, and hopes Hanergy will build a factory to help realize that goal, Norris said.
Gallium arsenide is more expensive than silicon so Hanergy will work to lower production costs, Hanergy Chief Executive Li Hejun said at the news conference.

Dye Solar Cell Manufacturer Dyesol To Develop Prototype Manufacturing Facility In Turkey

ASX-listed dye solar cell manufacturer, Dyesol, has signed a $A2.2 million contract to establish a prototype products production facility in Turkey.


The deal will see Dyesol supply Nesli DSC with the equipment needed to develop the prototype facility, build experience in the scale-up of DSC technology, and provide product for demonstration sites to seed the Turkish market.

Dyesol’s pioneering DSC technology creates “artificial photosynthesis” using a layer of nano-titania on glass, metal or polymer. The light that hits the layer of excited electrons, which is absorbed by titania and converted into an electric current.

Dyesol has recently proven the efficiency of their dye-sensitized solar cells to be 15 per cent, beating the world record of 14.1 per cent, and competing on the same level as conventional solar cells, even with low light.
When compared with conventional silicon based PV technology, DSC also costs less to manufacture and produces electricity more efficiently, even in low light conditions, and can be directly integrated into conventional glass panelled buildings.

The newly signed contract triggers a Memorandum of Understanding that recognises Dyesol’s pre-eminent position in DSC commercialisation and materials supply.

It also establishes a framework for the parties to evaluate and address establishing large scale manufacturing to jointly exploit this market.

Separately, the company has also started its commercial push into solid-state DSC (ssDSC) materials – which are touted as having the potential to transform the way buildings produce and consume energy.