Solar Power in Uganda

solar therm al prototype in UgandaSolar power benefits people across the world. At the solar power lab we focus on the device physics of photovoltaic devices and ways to increase the performance while lowering the cost. We also get out into the community to see how solar power can be used to directly benefi people lives. Most of our outreach takes place closer to home but in the first two weeks of 2014 one of our graduate students, Tim Reblitz, travelled to Uganda to look at how solar is used there. Most of the education was for Tim but we hope that there were also benefits to the local Ugandian community. You can read more about Tim's exploits at his blog

Educational Website (pveducation and pvlighthouse)

We have recently started cross linking pages between and The animations and interactive graphs at focus on explaining photovoltaic concepts. PV Lighthouse is a repository of more detailed simulation programs for photovoltaics. The programs are free and can be accessed as online calculators or downloadable applications. PV Lighthouse also maintains libraries of photovoltaic data, such as common spectra and the refractive index of materials. Researchers that contribute to PV Lighthouse are given a profile page and are regularly provided with statistics that quantify the global interest in their programs. The ultimate goal of PV Lighthouse is to integrate all programs and data into a single grand unified model of photovoltaics.

New Course - Science and Technology of Solar Cell Fabrication

Spring Session B 2014

This course will focus on the science and technology involved in the manufacturing of solar cells and will provide students with an introduction to important manufacturing concepts such as device design, yields, throughput, process optimisation, reliability, in-line quality control and fault diagnosis. In this class, students will learn about: (i) the fabrication processes of the commercially-dominant screen-printed solar cells; (ii) the impact of various processing and device parameters on performance, yields and product reliability; and (iii) in-line, endof-line and failure-analysis quality control techniques, and (iv) trends in commercial cell technology and the corresponding manufacturing processes. Students will be given the opportunity to take control of a "virtual solar cell production line" to adjust the equipment controls and processing parameters to try and optimise performance and maximise virtual production yields. In-line quality control procedures are available to the student to aid in this optimisation and will prove to be particularly useful in identifying and rectifying weaknesses or problems associated with the production.

New Course - PV Systems

EEE598: Photovoltaic (PV) Systems
Spring 2014

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.

STEM Journals

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: Our section starts at time 12:50.

We even had Geoff make a solar cell in our lab.

solar cell fabrication


In the news

Discussion of our recent research on PBS Horizon

Stuart Bowden on PBS Horizon

< 1 cm/s effective surface recombination velocity

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..



Dean's fellowships available for Graduate Students

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:

For more information please contact

Congratulations to Vivek Sharma. Our latest graduate.

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.

Congratulations Vivek!

Record high voltage on a silicon solar device.

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:

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