Solar Power Lab is engaged in research activities on different aspects of Photovoltaics.
One of the biggest challenges holding back our spacefaring activities — from satellites and in-orbit manufacturing to bases on Mars and asteroid mining — is the lack of affordable space solar panels to power them.
By 2050 we’re going to have global broadband internet satellite networks, in-orbit manufacturing, space tourism, asteroid mining, and lunar and Mars bases.
More than a gigawatt of solar energy will be needed to power these activities, or the equivalent of 3.125 million photovoltaic panels. However, because it is currently the most expensive component on a satellite, scientists are looking for ways to make solar energy in space affordable — and to keep solar power systems from degrading so quickly in the extremely harsh environment of space.
Arizona. Where you don’t have to shovel sunshine, as the old tourism ads chortled. At Arizona State University, students and alumni are Sun Devils. The sun is in the university logo. Solar panels cover almost every structure.
Have you ever wondered how to make a solar cell in a research lab? We have put together a video for an in depth peek into the Solar Power Lab and shows how we make our record breaking solar cells. We describe the process from the bare silicon wafer to the final solar cell for our heterojunction cells, which have a record high open circuit voltage over 750 mV. Most cells made in indutry have a much lower voltage at 640-650 mV and use a process called phosphorus diffusion with rear aluminum back surface field (we have a pilot line for that too).
Article on the Solar Power Lab collaboration with sea turtle expert Jesse Senko. We are developing solar powered lights for fishing nets to warn turtles of the net's location and prevent the turtles getting caught.
The US Energy Information Agency keeps detailed statistics on all forms of energy including solar power. The recently released data for 2017 shows that solar powers almost 2% of the US national electricity grid. What is remarkable is the high growth of solar with the amount of power produced doubling every two years. In 2015 solar electricity was less than 1% of the total electricity generated in the US. Two years before that (2013) the EIA did not even keep detailed statistics on solar, since the amount produced was so small.
A new publication highlights the progress in photovoltaic module efficiency. Previously, efficiency has focused on the smaller solar cell but a practical product requires combing the solar cells into a larger module. The publication includes the most recent photovoltaic module records as well as the historical context.
The US Energy Information Agency publishes the amount of electricity each state uses and the amount generated by solar. The plot below shows the fraction of electricity that is generated by solar in states of the US where we have QESST members. California is an interesting case as the amount of eletricity from solar has grown from a few percent to over 20% in less than 5 years. It is remarkable how quickly solar electricity can ramp up production even in a large high-tech market such as California.
At the Solar Power Lab we fabricate industrially ready solar cells. We have people from all over the country come and learn how to make a solar cell. To speed the learning process we have put together a video showing the process. We are still working on the narration but here is a sneak peak of the video.