CPVMatch, an EU-funded project researching concentrator photovoltaics, has achieve a record 41.4% efficiency with 122 cm2 module. Over the past 3.5 years, the project run by a consortium of research institutions and companies in Germany, Italy, Spain, and France, was able to optimize the multi-junction solar cell modules and the sun-concentrating optics to maximize the efficiency.
Fraunhofer ISE leads the research project that achieved the record efficiency. The high-concentration photovoltaic modules employ III-V compoundsemi-based technology. The solar modules stack several thin subcells on top of each other to convert the more of the spectrum of the highly concentrated sunlight into electricity. Also, optical lenses heavily concentrate the incoming sunlight onto the small solar cells. A two-axis tracking system that holds the modules follows the sun’s path during the day.
CPVMatch Project Partners Optimized Four Junction Solar Cells and Concentrator Modules
“In CPVMatch, we have addressed all production steps for concentrator modules starting from the materials, through cell fabrication and production systems, and up to the challenges facing module manufacturing,” reported Dr. Gerald Siefer, project head and group leader of III-V Cell and Module Characterization at Fraunhofer ISE.
According to Siefer, the project partners used novel cell architectures for multi-junction solar cells with new materials, processes and manufacturing equipment to optimize the production of four-junction solar cells. They also enhanced the design of the concentration modules with achromatic lenses.
“We are extremely pleased about these results that pave the way for further efficiency increases in the concentrator technology,” said Dr. Andreas Bett, institute director of Fraunhofer ISE. “Photovoltaics is booming worldwide, and we see great potential for this particularly efficient module technology. It significantly decreases the use of resources for energy conversion per unit area and thus contributes to more sustainability.”