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Monday, October 1, 2012

Heterojunction may be the next biggest thing for solar

Heterojunction seems to be the latest craze in the PV (photovoltaic) world. So, I will attempt to tell you what the word heterojunction stands for and what its application to solar panels would mean. Here is the wiki link to what heterojunction means.

As can easily be seen from the wiki, a heterojunction is the interface that occurs between two layers or regions of dissimilar crystalline semiconductors. What this means in laymens terms is that your substrate (the underlying semiconductors) are made up of two totally different semiconductors.

And this was brought to my attention through this article. But, I must also say that all of this came out at the European Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conference and Exhibition that took place in Frankfurt between 24th and 28th of September. And the group responsible for this heterojunction research is Photovoltaics Laboratory (PVlab)- EPFL’s Institute of Microengineering in Neuchatel headed up by Professor Christophe Ballif.

But the significance of all of their research is that it has improved the efficiency up to 21.4%, compared to the 18-19% obtained by monocrystalline cells. So, this a definite improvement for solar cells. They managed to obtain an open-circuit voltage of 726mV and break the efficiency barrier of 22% on a less common substrate.

And a Swiss company has already been developing machine which will produce such panels. So this is yet another advancement which has been made in the solar world; and I cannot wait to see the next advancement which is made for this industry.

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