Over 86,000 terawatts of solar energy reach the Earth’s surface each year- enough to satisfy current global energy demand 1000 times over. In 2008, solar electric power amounted to a mere 0.2% of global energy produced but it is at a tipping point with a growth rate of 40% per year. Exponential growth, enormous solar resources and the global economy's unquenchable demand for electricity increasingly position photovoltaic power as vital to 21st century technology.
In this rapidly changing industry, the Solar Power Lab stands-out as having some of the most experienced researchers in the field. This, coupled with state-of-the-art facilities and institutional support, gives SPL the solid foundation necessary to push the boundaries of what has become a $20 billion sector of the economy.
Arizona State University’s Solar Power Lab serves a staging ground for the new technologies and ideas that will move us forward in our quest for a more sustainable society.
The Solar Power Lab is also committed to education. Check out our electronic book for information on photovoltaics, solar industry, and the physics that govern them.
The Solar Power Lab has numerous capabilities such as:
A full pilot line for 6 inch solar cells with an average efficiency of 17.5%
Extensive capabilities for silicon solar cell characterization
Molecular Beam epitaxy system for nano-structured solar cells
The use of photovoltaics (PV) has increased dramatically over the last years, driven by cost reductions in the PV systems. The goal of the course is to be able to calculate, design and understand the components of PV systems; design and optimize a PV system for a range of PV applications; to be able to calculate and analyze the initial and levelized cost of PV electricity; understand and analyze the reliability of the PV systems; and to understand how non-technical barriers and incentives affect PV Systems.
The Solar Power Labs is featured on STEM journals on Cox Ch. 7. It is originally broadcast on Nov 20 at 8 pm and is archived on the web at: http://www.cox7.com/alternative-energy Our section starts at time 12:50.
Surface recombination is a critical parameter that determines the perfromance of thin silicon solar cells. We have developed a passivation process with very low recomination giving very high minority lifetimes in crystalline silicon exceeding 60 ms.
The paper is publlished online at Applied Physics Letters: ]S. Y. Herasimenka, C. J. Tracy, V. Sharma, N. Vulic, W. J. Dauksher, and S. G. Bowden, “Surface passivation of n-type c-Si wafers by a-Si/SiO2/SiNx stack with <1 cm/s effective surface recombination velocity,” Applied Physics Letters, vol. 103, no. 18, p. 183903, Oct. 2013..
At the solar power labs we have opportunities for students starting in Spring 2014. There are Engineering Dean's felllowships available for US Citizens with good grades. For more details on the Dean's fellowships please see the link:
Vivek Sharma is our most recent graduate. He successfully defended his PhD thesis in September, 2013 on the "Study of Chrages Present in SIlicon Nitride Films" During his PhD he demonstrated the ability of silicon nitride to hold both positive and negative charge and to hold that charge over extended periods. The work has important implications for advanced silicon solar cells where recombination at the surfaces is increasingly important and there is a wide range in electronic doping and type.
We are pleased that Vivek was hired by Intel even before graduation. He is presently traveling to Hillsboro Oregan and will work on advanced chip design.
A recent publication in Applied Physics Letters published a result showing a solar cell with an open circuit voltage of 753 mV. To date this is the highest published value of an open circuit voltage in a silicon solar device.
The article citation is:
S. Y. Herasimenka, W. J. Dauksher, and S. G. Bowden, “>750 mV open circuit voltage measured on 50 μm thick silicon heterojunction solar cell,” Applied Physics Letters, vol. 103, no. 5, pp. 053511–053511–4, Aug. 2013.
The direct link to the article is: http://link.aip.org/link/?APL/103/053511&aemail=author
The solar power lab is now powered by solar! The solarization project at ASU continues to expand with the latest addition being 1 MW of capacity covering the building and parking lot of MacroTechnologyWorks, which is the building that houses the Solar Power Labs. The system provides more than enough power to offset the usage of the solar power lab. As a grid tied system, the extra power on sunny days is fed back into the grid. An additional benefit of the system is that it provides shading for over 200 cars, which is a welcome relief during the hot Phoenix summer where temperatures regularly exceed 115 F.
More information is available at https://cfo.asu.edu/solar-installations
The Solar Power Laboratory runs undergraduate research projects, many of which are provided by the Fulton Undergraduate Research Initiative (FURI). Read more about the experiences of a recent undergraduate researcher here.