A Comparison of Theoretical Efficiencies of Multi-junction Concentrator Solar Cells

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Abstract

Champion concentrator cell efficiencies have surpassed 40% and now many are asking whether the efficiencies will surpass 50%. Theoretical efficiencies of >60% are described for many approaches, but there is often confusion about "the" theoretical efficiency for a specific structure. The detailed balance approach to calculating theoretical efficiency gives an upper bound that can be independent of material parameters and device design. Other models predict efficiencies that are closer to those that have been achieved. Changing reference spectra and the choice of concentration further complicate comparison of theoretical efficiencies. This paper provides a side-by-side comparison of theoretical efficiencies of multijunction solar cells calculated with the detailed balance approach and a common one-dimensional-transport model for different spectral and irradiance conditions. Also, historical experimental champion efficiencies are compared with the theoretical efficiencies.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)537-546
Number of pages10
JournalProgress in Photovoltaics: Research and Applications
Volume16
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - 2008

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-520-41325

Keywords

  • Multi-junction solar cells
  • Theoretical efficiency

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