Future of Amorphous Silicon Photovoltaic Technology

    Research output: NRELTechnical Report


    Amorphous silicon modules are commercially available. They are the first truly commercial thin-film photovoltaic (PV) devices. Well-defined production processes over very large areas (> 1 m2) have been implemented. There are few environmental issues during manufacturing, deployment in the field, or with the eventual disposal of the modules. Manufacturing safety issues are well characterized andcontrollable. The highest measured initial efficiency to date is 13.7% for a small triple-stacked cell and the highest stabilized module efficiency is 10%. There is a consensus among researchers, that in order to achieve a 15% stabilized efficiency, a triple-junction amorphous silicon structure is required. Fundamental improvements in alloys are needed for higher efficiencies. This is beingpursued through the DOE/NREL Thin-Film Partnership Program. Cost reductions through improved manufacturing processes are being pursued under the National Renewable Energy Laboratory/U.S. Department of Energy (NREL/DOE)-sponsored research in manufacturing technology (PVMaT). Much of the work in designing a-Si devices is a result of trying to compensate for the Staebler-Wronski effect. Some newdeposition techniques hold promise because they have produced materials with lower stabilized defect densities. However, none has yet produced a high efficiency device and shown it to be more stable than those from standard glow discharge deposited material.
    Original languageAmerican English
    Number of pages26
    StatePublished - 1995

    NREL Publication Number

    • NREL/TP-411-8019


    • amorphous silicon
    • photovoltaic
    • thin films


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