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

Christiana Honsberg Receives Education Award

Arizona State University engineering professor Christiana Honsberg recently was presented the Outstanding Faculty Award for 2014 by the Phoenix Section of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE).

IEEE, an association dedicated to advancing innovation and technological excellence for the benefit of humanity, is the world’s largest technical professional society.

The award recognizes Honsberg’s contributions as a university faculty member working to develop a more sustainable future by making advances in the performance of solar energy systems.

Sixth Annual Thankgiving Feast

Its time one again for the annual SPL/QESST thanksgiving feast. This year we will be frying up four turkeys and serving them to the hungry hordes. If you are associated with QESST or SPL you should have an email invitation.

The lunch will be held in the courtyard at the Solar Power Lab @ MTW on Wednesday, November 19th at Noon.

Bring food if you like but we have four turkeys so no one will go hungry.


Seminar: Michael Woodhouse

An overview of the current global solar market, and technology innovations that may enable more economically compelling solutions

Dr. Michael Woodhouse
Strategic Energy Analysis Center
National Renewable Energy Laboratory

Thursday, November 13, 2014 @ 3:30 p.m.
Wrigley Hall, room 481

Seminar: Present and Future of Photovoltaics

IEEE Components, Packaging and Manufacturing Technology Society
Phoenix Chapter

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014 at 5:30 PM
Seminar: Present and Future of Photovoltaics

ASU engineering graduate refused to be statistic, powered up her career

 Carrie Culp could have been a statistic: single mother of three, high school diploma, hard-working but hamstrung by a lack of education, hanging onto the lower rungs of the financial ladder.

So she figured out how to make her life work, going to community college, transferring to the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at Arizona State University, earning bachelor and master’s degrees in electrical engineering through the accelerated program and landing an enviable job helping run the country’s power grid at Midcontinent Independent System Operator Inc. Read online


Internship with Applied Materials

Two Solar Power Lab students just completed their internship with Applied Materials over the summer. Tim Reblitz and Abhishek Kumar are pictured with James Gee (Chief Scientist, Applied Materials). They worked on next generation photovoltaic technologies at the Applied Materials Silicon Valley office in San Jose, California. 

Abhishek is completing his masters in Industrial Engineering and Tim is in his third year of the PhD program.


Abhishek Kumar, James Gee, and Tim Reblitz

Best Student Paper Award at the IEEE conference

At the recent IEEE Photovoltaics Specialist Conference, Jaewon Oh received the best student paper award in the area of Reliability of PV. Jaewon's paper was entitled "Application of Reverse Bias Recovery Technique to Address PID Issue: Incompleteness of shunt resistance and quantum efficiency recovery". Potential induced degradation (PID) has become increasingly important in recent years as modules are used in larger systems and voltages increase.

Jaewon recieves his award from the IEEE

Kerfless Crystalline-Silicon PV: Gas to Modules

We recently started a new program at ASU to work on one of the most challenging problems in photovoltaics. How to grow thin wafers of crystalline silicon directly from the gas phase and then process them into solar cells. The program takes advantage of technology that we recently developed to produce record voltages on crystalline silicon solar cells.

The program is funded by DOE ARPA-E and the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) and involves a collaboration between Applied Materials  (lead), Suniva and ASU. 

Positive and negative charges in silicon nitride.

The surfaces of silicon solar cells are highly active and a major loss mechanism unless they are made electrical inactive by passivation of the surface defects. Silicon nitride is commonly used to passivate the front surface of solar cells and gives them their blue color. The positive charge in the nitride lowers the electrical activity at the surface of n-type material by repelling minority carrier holes. Recently we demonstrated a techniue to change the charge in silicon nitride from positive to negative. By flipping the charge we will be able to use silicon nitride to passivate p-type. The whole process is done at low temperature and relies on changing a metastable defect.

The results are published in V. Sharma, C. Tracy, D. Schroder, S. Herasimenka, W. Dauksher, and S. Bowden, “Manipulation of K center charge states in silicon nitride films to achieve excellent surface passivation for silicon solar cells,” Applied Physics Letters, vol. 104, no. 5, p. 053503, Feb. 2014. http://dx.doi.org/10.1063/1.4863829

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