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Method to prevent solar cell degradation established

Posted: 16 Oct 2012 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Photovoltaics? chemical damage? solar cells? light energy?

A method to observe and prevent solar cell degradation before solar cell production has been established by the University of Luxembourg's Laboratory for Photovoltaics. The method hopes to provide the solar cell manufacturing industry with an answer to the quick chemical damage that plague solar cells.

Researchers measured the light that is released by a solar cell when a laser is shone on it, and found that the degradation happens within the first few minutes. They also found that the degradation is reversible and prevented by quickly placing another layer on the solar cell. This makes the solar cell stable.

Solar panels are capable of converting light energy from the sun into electrical energy because they contain solar cells. Thin film solar cells have a coating that is responsible for absorbing the sun's energy, but this film can be degraded during the production process.

"A thin film solar cell is a stack of several layers. The main one is the layer that absorbs the light and transforms it into electricity. If these absorbers are not processed immediately they lose part of their ability to convert light energy," says researcher David Regesch of the Laboratory for Photovoltaics, Physics Research Unit at the University of Luxembourg.

In the photovoltaics industry, solar cells are processed as fast as possible for economic reasons, and now scientists have shown a physical reason why this process should be completed quickly. This study was published in Applied Physical Letters.

- Paul Buckley
??EE Times

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