A numerical tool for evaluating and optimizing multijunction PV systems

Kevon C Charles, Purdue University


Solar energy is one of the most abundant sources of clean renewable energy and is also an important source of electrical energy. Solar energy has the potential of meeting all of the world's energy needs, and has seen substantial growth and development in recent years. Solar cells can convert sunlight directly into electrical energy, and the solar industry has made a great deal of progress in making them less costly and more efficient. The conversion efficiency of solar cells, however, is one of the main factors that limits the solar industry from competing with fossil fuels. Once the efficiency of solar cells is improved, solar energy will have a greater impact on the worlds energy consumption, and hence more clean energy will be consumed. It is known that in order to take full advantage of the solar spectrum, a multijunction PV system has to be implemented in order to absorb more photons. The design of this system is very important in improving the overall conversion efficiency. Choosing the right bandgap energies in a PV system is an important design characteristic that helps improve the performance of solar cells. In this thesis, a numerical tool is designed to determine the bandgap energies that yield the highest possible system power efficiency for a given number of PV junctions. The tool has the ability to simulate PV systems with combinations of junctions that are optically split or in series, as well as electrically independent or in series.




Gray, Purdue University.

Subject Area

Electrical engineering

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