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Renewable Energy Resources

(PY 514)
• Energy gives us the ability to do things such as climb a
mountain, play soccer, and even think
• Energy causes movement. Every time you see something
move, energy is being used
• One form of energy can be changed into another form. E.g.
When you turn on a flashlight, chemical energy stored in
the battery is changed into light and heat.
• Energy is used to do work.
• The sun is the source of all energy. The sun’s energy is
stored in coal, petroleum, natural gas, food, water and
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There are seven forms of energy. (Just remember the name: MRS CHEN. )
1. M Mechanical energy (kinetic energy); its counterpart is stored energy
(potential energy)
2. R Radiant energy or sunlight or solar
3. S Sound energy
4. C Chemical energy
5. H Heat energy
6. E Electrical energy
7. N Nuclear energy
The First Law of Thermodynamics states that energy cannot be created or
destroyed; it only changes form. Sources of energy, then, are materials or
objects that produce energy by changing it from one form to another

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Solar Cell Radiant Electrical
Wind Mechanical Electrical,
(kinetic—blades Mechanical
Battery Chemical (i.e. alkali Electrical
Space Heater Electrical (outlet) Heat, Mechanical
Gasoline Chemical Mechanical, Heat,
(combustion) Sound
Oil, Coal, Nat’l Gas Chemical Heat, Mechanical,
(combustion) Electrical
Food Chemical Mechanical
(digestion) (muscles), Heat,
Wood Chemical Heat, Radiant,
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(combustion) Sound
1. Based on Usability of Energy:
(a) Primary Resources:
These are resources found in nature prior to undergoing
any human made conversions or transformations.
Examples: coal, crude oil, sunlight, wind, running rivers,
vegetation, uranium, etc.
These resources are generally available in raw forms and
are, therefore, known as raw energy resources. Generally,
this form of energy cannot be used as such. These are
located, explored, extracted, processed and are converted
to a form as required by the consumer. The energy yield
ratio of an energy extraction process is defined as follows:

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(b) Intermediate Resources :
These are obtained from primary energy by one or more
steps of transformation and are used as vehicles of energy .

(c) Secondary Resources:

The form of energy which is finally supplied to a consumer
for utilization is known as secondary or usable energy, e.g.
electrical e energy (in the form of steam or hot water),
chemical energy (in the form of hydrogen or fossil fuels),
Some forms of energy may be categorized both in
intermediate as well as secondary resources, e.g.,
electricity and hydrogen.

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2. Based on Traditional Use:
(a) Conventional Energy resources: which are
being traditionally used for many decades and
were in common use around the oil crisis of 1973,
are called conventional energy resources, e.g.,
fossil fuels, nuclear and hydro resources.
(b) Non-conventional Energy resources: which
are considered for large-scale use after the oil
crisis of 1973, are called non energy sources, e.g.
solar, wind, biomass, etc.
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3. Based on Long-term Availability:
(a) Non-renewable Resources: which are finite
and do not get replenished after their
consumption(when used, they are gone) are
called non-renewable, e.g., fossil fuels(coal,
petroleum or oil, or natural gas ), uranium, etc.
(b) Renewable Resources: which are renewed by
nature again and again and their supply is not
affected by the rate of their consumption are
called renewable, e.g., solar, wind, biomass,
ocean (thermal, tidal and wave), geothermal etc

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i. Fossil fuels
ii. nuclear
iii. hydro resources
1. Cost: At present, these are cheaper than non
conventional sources.
2. Security: As storage is easy and convenient, by storing a
certain quantity the energy availability can be ensured
for certain period.
3. Convenience: These sources are very convenient to use
as technology for their conversion and their use is
universally available.

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1. Fossil fuels generate pollutants. Main pollutants generated in the use of
these sources are CO, CO2 NOx, Sox. These pollutants degrade the
environment, pose health hazards and cause various other problems. CO is
mainly responsible for global warming
2. Coal is also a valuable petrochemical and is used as raw material for
chemical, pharmaceutical and paint industries. From the long-term point
of view it is desirable to conserve coal for future needs.
3. Safety of nuclear plants is a controversial subject. The major problems
with nuclear energy are the following
(a) The waste material generated in nuclear plants has radioactivity
quotients of dangerous levels
(b) There is possibility of accidental leakage of radioactive material from
reactor (as happened in Chernobyl, former USSR, in April 1986).
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(c) Uranium resource, for which the technology presently exists, has a
limited availability
Due to these serious disadvantages, Sweden has banned new
nuclear plants since 1984 and has planned to dismantle the existing
plants in a phased manner.

4. Hydroelectric plants are cleanest but large hydro reservoirs cause

the following problems.
(a) A large land area submerges into water leading to deforestation
(b) Causes ecological disturbances such as earthquake
(c) Affects wildlife
(d) Causes dislocation of a large population and their rehabilitation

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Non-conventional Sources
(I) Solar Energy:

 Solar energy can be a major source of power.

 It can be utilized by using thermal and photovoltaic conversion
 The solar radiation received on the surface of the earth on a
bright sunny day at noon is approximately 1 kW/m2.
 The earth continuously intercepts solar power of 178 billion MW
which is about 10,000 times the world’s demand.
 According to one estimate, if all the buildings of the world are
covered with solar PV panels, it can fulfill electrical power
requirements of the world.
 Solar PV power is considered an expensive source of power. At
present, the capital cost of a solar PV system is Rs 200.00 per W
(Rs 20 crore/MW as against Rs 4 crore/MW for coal-fired thermal

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(ii) Wind Energy:
The power available in the winds flowing over the
earth surface is estimated to be 1.6 x 107 MW, which is
more than the present energy requirement of the
There has been remarkable growth of wind-power
installation in the world.
Wind-power generation is the fastest growing energy
Wind-power installations worldwide have crossed
94,100 MW. Germany is the world leader in wind
power with an installed capacity of 22,247 MW

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(iii) Biomass Energy:
Energy resources available from animal and vegetation are called
biomass energy resources. The principal biomass resources are:
• Trees (wood, leaves and forest industry waste)
• Cultivated plants grown for energy
• Algae and other vegetation from oceans and lakes
• Urban waste (municipal and industrial waste)
• Rural waste (agricultural and animal waste, crop residue, etc.)
Biomass material may be transformed by chemical or biological
processes to produce intermediate bio-fuels such as biogas
(methane), producer gas, ethanol and charcoal. At present, there
are millions of biogas plants in the world, and most of them are in

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(iv) Geothermal Energy:
Geothermal energy is derived from huge
amounts of stored thermal energy in the
interior of the earth, though its economic
recovery on the surface of the earth is not
feasible everywhere. Its overall contribution in
total energy requirement is negligible.
However, it is a very important resource

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1. Non-conventional sources are available in nature
free of cost.
2. They produce no or very little pollution. Thus, by
and large, they are environment friendly.
3. They are inexhaustible.
4. They have a low gestation period

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1. In general, the energy is available in dilute form
from these sources.
2. Though available freely in nature, the cost of
harnessing energy from non- conventional sources
is generally high.
3. Availability is uncertain; the energy flow depends
on various natural phenomena beyond human
4. Difficulty in transporting such forms of energy.

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Solar energy
• “Solar” is the Latin word for “sun” – and it’s a
powerful source of energy.
• In fact, the sunlight that shines on the Earth in
just one hour could meet world energy
demand for an entire year!
• We can use solar power in two different ways:
as a heat source, and as an energy source.
• People have used the sun as a heat
• source for thousands of years.
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Where does solar come from?
The sun has produced energy for billions of years. Solar
energy is the solar radiation that reaches the earth.
Solar energy can be converted directly or indirectly into other
forms of energy, such as heat and electricity.
The major drawbacks (problems, or issues to overcome) of
solar energy are:
(1) the intermittent and variable manner in which it arrives at
the earth's surface and,
(2) the large area required to collect it at a useful rate.
Solar energy is used for heating water for domestic use, space
heating of buildings, drying agricultural products, and
generating electrical energy.
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Photovoltaic energy:
Photovoltaic (fo-to-vol-ta-ik) systems are solar systems that
produce electricity directly from sunlight.
The term "photo" comes from the Greek "phos," meaning
light. "Voltaic" is named for Alessandro Volta (1745-1827), a
pioneer in the study of electricity for whom the term "volt"
was named.
Photovoltaics, then, means "light electricity."
Photovoltaic systems produce clean, reliable electricity
without consuming any fossil fuels. They are being used in a
wide variety of applications, from providing power for
watches, highway signs, and space stations, to providing for
a household's electrical needs.

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Photo+voltaic = convert light to electricity

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What is the difference between "solar
energy" and "photovoltaics?
Photovoltaics is one form of solar energy.
• The term solar energy can refer to something as simple
the energy gathered in your parked, sealed car (your
solar collector) and converted into heat.
• Solar energy is often used to heat houses directly
through passive means (sun enters window, room
• Solar energy is also often used to heat water (a solar
collector is mounted in direct sunlight, which warms a
heat transfer fluid, which in turn heats the water in
your hot water tank).
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• Photovoltaics refers specifically to the practice of
converting the sun's energy directly into
electricity using photovoltaic cells.
• Photovoltaic cells are often referred to as PV
cells or solar cells.
• A photovoltaic cell is a nonmechanical device
usually made from silicon alloys.
• Sunlight is composed of photons, or particles of
solar energy. These photons contain various
amounts of energy corresponding to the different
wavelengths of the solar spectrum.
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• When photons strike a photovoltaic cell, they may be
reflected, pass right through, or be absorbed.
• Only the absorbed photons provide energy to generate
electricity. When enough sunlight (energy) is absorbed
by the material (a semiconductor), electrons are
dislodged from the material's atoms.
• Special treatment of the material surface during
manufacturing makes the front surface of the cell more
receptive to free electrons, so the electrons naturally
migrate to the surface.

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How does it work

The heart of a photovoltaic system is a solid-state device called a

solar cell.
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• Photovoltaic cells, like batteries, generate
direct current (DC) which is generally used for
small loads (electronic equipment).
When DC from photovoltaic cells is used for
commercial applications or sold to electric
utilities using the electric grid, it must be
converted to alternating current (AC) using
inverters, solid state devices that convert DC
power to AC.

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Solar Thermal Heat Solar
Thermal Energy
• Solar thermal energy refers to harnessing the sun's
light to produce heat.
• Heat results when photons, packets of light
energy, strike the atoms composing a substance
(water, your body, asphalt), exciting them.
• Solar thermal technologies include passive solar
systems for heating (or cooling!) buildings; flat
plate solar collectors, often used for providing
households with hot water; and solar concentrator
power systems.

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• These systems, also known as solar thermal power
plants, use the sun's heat to create steam, which then
turns a turbine and produces electricity. (Fossil fuel
burning power plants also produce electricity by first
creating steam in order to turn a turbine.)
The major applications of solar thermal energy at present are
heating swimming pools, heating water
for domestic use, and space heating of buildings.
For these purposes, the general practice is to use flat plate
Solar energy collectors with a fixed orientation (position).

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Categories of Solar collectors
a) Non-concentrating
b) concentrating
In the nonconcentrating type, the collector area (i.e. the
area that intercepts the solar radiation) is the same as the
absorber area (i.e., the area absorbing the radiation).
In concentrating collectors, the area intercepting the solar
radiation is greater, sometimes hundreds of times greater,
than the absorber area. Where temperatures below about
200o F are sufficient, such as for space heating, flat plate
collectors of the nonconcentrating type are generally used.

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Solar Energy to Heat Living Spaces

 Proper design of a building is for it to act as a solar collector and

storage unit. This is achieved through three elements:
insulation, collection, and storage.
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Solar Energy to Heat Water
• A flat-plate collector is used
to absorb the sun’s energy to
heat the water.
• The water circulates
throughout the closed
system due to convection
• Tanks of hot water are used
as storage.

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What is Solar Energy?
• Originates with the
thermonuclear fusion
reactions occurring in the sun.
• Represents the entire
electromagnetic radiation
(visible light, infrared,
ultraviolet, x-rays, and radio
• Radiant energy from the sun
has powered life on Earth for
many millions of years.

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Advantages and Disadvantages
• Advantages
• All chemical and radioactive polluting by products of the
thermonuclear reactions remain behind on the sun, while only
pure radiant energy reaches the Earth.
• Energy reaching the earth is incredible. By one calculation, 30
days of sunshine striking the Earth have the energy equivalent of
the total of all the planet’s fossil fuels, both used and unused!
• Disadvantages
• Sun does not shine consistently.
• Solar energy is a diffuse source. To harness it, we must
concentrate it into an amount and form that we can use, such as
heat and electricity.
• Addressed by approaching the problem through:
1) collection, 2) conversion, 3) storage.

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Fundamentals of
photovoltaic energy

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Solar Cells Background
• 1839 - French physicist A. E. Becquerel first recognized the photovoltaic

• 1883 - first solar cell built, by Charles Fritts, coated semiconductor

selenium with an extremely thin layer of gold to form the junctions.
• 1954 - Bell Laboratories, experimenting with semiconductors,
accidentally found that silicon doped with certain impurities was very
sensitive to light. Daryl Chapin, Calvin Fuller and Gerald Pearson,
invented the first practical device for converting sunlight into useful
electrical power. Resulted in the production of the first practical solar
cells with a sunlight energy conversion efficiency of around 6%.
• 1958 - First spacecraft to use solar panels was US satellite Vanguard 1

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Energy Band Formation in Solid

 Each isolated atom has discrete energy level, with two electrons of opposite
spin occupying a state.
 When atoms are brought into close contact, these energy levels split.
 If there are a large number of atoms, the discrete energy levels form a
“continuous” band.
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Energy Band Diagram of a Conductor,
Semiconductor, and Insulator

a conductor a semiconductor an insulator

 Semiconductor is interest because their conductivity can be readily modulated (by

impurity doping or electrical potential), offering a pathway to control electronic circuits.
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Shared electrons

Si Si Si

Si Si Si

Si Si Si

 Silicon is group IV element – with 4 electrons in their valence shell.

 When silicon atoms are brought together, each atom forms covalent bond with 4
silicon atoms in a tetrahedron geometry.
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Intrinsic Semiconductor

 At 0 ºK, each electron is in its lowest energy state so

each covalent bond position is filled. If a small electric
field is applied to the material, no electrons will move
because they are bound to their individual atoms.
=> At 0 ºK, silicon is an insulator.
 As temperature increases, the valence electrons gain
thermal energy. If a valence electron gains enough
energy (Eg), it may break its covalent bond and move
away from its original position. This electron is free to
move within the crystal.
 Conductor Eg <0.1eV, many electrons can be
thermally excited at room temperature.
 Semiconductor Eg ~1eV, a few electrons can be
excited (e.g. 1/billion)
 Insulator, Eg >3-5eV, essentially no electron can be
thermally excited at room temperature.
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Extrinsic Semiconductor, n-type Doping

Conducting band, Ec
Si Si Si
Ed ~ 0.05 eV
Si As Si Eg = 1.1 eV

Si Si - Si
Valence band, Ev

 Doping silicon lattice with group V elements can creates extra electrons in the
conduction band — negative charge carriers (n-type), As- donor.
 Doping concentration #/cm3 (1016/cm3 ~ 1/million).
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Extrinsic Semiconductor, p-type doping

Conducting band, Ec

Si Si Si
Eg = 1.1 eV
Si B Si

Ea ~ 0.05 eV
Si Si - Si
Valence band, Ev

 Doping silicon with group III elements can creates empty holes in the
conduction band — positive charge carriers (p-type), B-(acceptor).

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p-n Junction (p-n diode)
p n

i R O F
depletion layer
p n p n
V<0 - + V>0 V>0 V<0

Reverse bias Forward bias

 A p-n junction is a junction formed by combining p-type and n-type

semiconductors together in very close contact.
 In p-n junction, the current is only allowed to flow along one direction from p-
type to n-type materials.
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How Solar Cells Work
p - + n
hv > Eg
- +
- +
- +
- +

 Photons in sunlight hit the solar panel and are absorbed by semiconducting materials to
create electron hole pairs.
 Electrons (negatively charged) are knocked loose from their atoms, allowing them to flow
the material to produce electricity.
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Symbol of PV Cell

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Solar Cell Equations
Analytical Model –
. Equations analytical

Open Circuit: I = 0, V=Voc

Short Circuit: V=0, I=Isc

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IV Curve Solar Cell

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• Open Circuit: I = 0, V=Voc
• Short Circuit: V=0, I=Isc
• The power produced by the cell
in Watts can be easily calculated
along the I-V sweep by the
equation P=IV. At the ISC and VOC
points, the power will be zero
and the maximum value for
power will occur between the
• two. The voltage and current at
this maximum power point are
denoted as VMP and IMP

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The Fill Factor (FF) is essentially a measure of
quality of the solar cell. It is calculated by
comparing the maximum power to the theoretical
power (PT) that would be output at both the open
circuit voltage and short circuit current together. FF
can also be interpreted graphically as the ratio of
the rectangular areas shown in the figure below.

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• Efficiency is the ratio of the electrical power
output Pout , compared to the solar power
input, Pin , into the PV cell. Pout can be taken
to be PMAX since the solar cell can be operated
up to its maximum power output to get the
maximum efficiency.

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Pin is taken as the product of the irradiance of
the incident light, measured in W/m2 or in suns
(1000 W/m2), with the surface area of the solar
cell [m2]. The maximum efficiency (ŋMAX) found
from a light test is not only an indication of the
performance of the device under test, but, like all
of the I-V parameters, can also be affected by
ambient conditions such as temperature and the
intensity and spectrum of the incident light. For
this reason, it is recommended to test and
compare PV cells using similar lighting and
temperature conditions.
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 During operation, the efficiency of solar cells is reduced
by the dissipation of power across internal resistances.
These parasitic resistances can be modeled as a parallel
shunt resistance (RSH) and series resistance (RS).
 For an ideal cell, RSH would be infinite and would not
provide an alternate path for current to flow, while RS
would be zero, resulting in no further voltage drop
before the load.
 Decreasing RSH and increasing Rs will decrease the fill
factor (FF) and PMAX as shown in the figure on the next
slide. If RSH is decreased too much, VOC will drop, while
increasing RS excessively can cause ISC to drop instead
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It is possible to approximate the series and
shunt resistances, RS and RSH, from the slopes
of the I-V curve at VOC and ISC, respectively.
The resistance at Voc, however, is at best
proportional to the series resistance but it is
larger than the series resistance. RSH is
represented by the slope at ISC. Typically, the
resistances at ISC and at VOC will be measured
and noted.
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The Impact of Band Gap on Efficiency
Fill Factor, FF = (VmpImp)/VocIsc
Current Density (mA/cm2)

20 Efficiency,  = (VocIscFF)/Pin
hv > Eg
-10 FF
-20 Jsc Vmp
0.0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1.0
Voltage (volts)

• Efficiency,  = (VocIscFF)/Pin Voc  Eg, Isc  # of absorbed photons

• Decrease Eg, absorb more of the spectrum
• But not without sacrificing output voltage
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Maximizing Efficiency

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Quality of cell
• As time progresses, the quality of cell deteriorates
• quality of the cell is in terms of Fill Factor (FF)

• FF=(VmIm)/(VocIsc )
 Ideally, the fill factor should be 1 or 100%
 The actual value of FF is about 0.8 or 80%
 graph of the FF vs the insolation gives a measure of the quality of the PV cell

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First Generation
– Single crystal silicon wafers (c-Si)

• First Generation Photovoltaic cells are the dominant technology in the

commercial production of solar cells, accounting for more than 86% of the
solar cell market.
• Cells are typically made using a crystalline silicon wafer.
• Consists of a large-area, single layer p-n junction diode.
• Approaches
– Ingots can be either monocrystalline or multicrystalline.
– .Most common approach is to process discrete cells on wafers sawed
from silicon ingots.
– . More recent approach which saves energy is to process discrete
– cells on silicon wafers cut from multicrystalline ribbons.
• Bandgap ~ 1.11eV

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 Broad spectral absorption range.
 High carrier mobilities.
 Requires expensive manufacturing technologies.
 Growing and sawing of ingots is a highly energy intensive
Fairly easy for an electron generated in another molecule to
hit a hole left behind in a previous photo excitation.
 Much of the energy oh higher energy photons, at the blue
and violent end of the spectrum, is wasted as heat.

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Second Generation
– Thin Film Cells

 Amorphous silicon (a-Si)

 Polycrystalline silicon (poly-Si)
 Cadmium telluride (CdTe)
 Copper indium gallium diselenide (CIGS) alloy

Amorphous silicon cells deposited on stainless-steel ribbon.

 Can be deposited over large areas by plasma-enhanced chemical vapor
 Can be doped in a fashion similar to c-Si, to form p- or n- type layers.
 Used to produce large-area photovoltaic solar cells.
 Bandgap ~ 1.7eV

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Polycrystalline silicon
 Consists solely of crystal silicon grains (1mm), separated by grain
 Main advantage over amorphous Si: mobility of the charge carriers
can be magnitudes of order higher.
 Materials show greater stability under electric field and light-
induced stress.
 . Bandgap ~ 1.1eV

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Cadmium Telluride (CdTe) cells deposited on glass.
 Crystalline compound formed from cadmium and tellurium with a
zinc blende (cubic) crystal structure.
 Usually sandwiched with cadmium sulfide (CdS) to form a pn junction
photovoltaic solar cell.
 Cheaper than Silicon, especially in thin-film solar technology not as efficient.
 Bandgap ~ 1.58eV.
Copper gallium indium diselenide (CIGS) solar cells
 Deposited on either glass or stainless steel substrates.
 More complex heterojunction model.
 Bandgap ~ 1.38eV.

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. Lower manufacturing costs.
. Lower cost per watt can be achieved.
. Reduced mass.
. Less support is needed when placing panels on rooftops.
. Allow fitting panels on light or flexible materials, even textiles.
. Typically, the efficiency of thin-film solar cells are lower compared with silicon
(wafer-based) solar cells.
. Amorphous silicon is not stable.
. Increased toxicity.

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Third Generation
– Multi-junction Cells
. Nanocrystal solar cells
. Photoelectrochemical (PEC) cells
. Gräetzel cells
. Polymer solar cells
. Dye sensitized solar cell (DSSC)

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. Very different from the previous semiconductor devices.
. Do not rely on a traditional pn- junction to separate photo
generated charge carriers.
. Devices include
. Nanocrystal Solar Cells.
. Photo electrochemical cells
. Graetzel cell
. Dye-sensitized hybrid solar cells.
. Polymer solar cells.

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. Low Energy, High throughput processing technologies.
. Polymer cells- solution processable, chemically synthesized.
. Polymer cells- Low material cost
. Graetzel cells- attractive replacement for existing technologies in .low
density applications like rooftop solar collectors.
. Graetzel cells- Works even in low-light conditions.
. DSSC- Potentially rechargeable.
. Efficiency is lower compared to silicon (wafer-based) solar cells.
. Polymer solar cells
. Degradation effects: efficiency is decreased over time due to
. High Bandgap.
. PEC cells undergo degradation of the electrodes from electrolyte.
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Fourth Generation
Thin multi-spectrum layers can be stacked to make
multi-spectrum solar cells
. Layer that converts different types of light is first.
. Another layer for the light that passes.
. Lastly is an infra-red spectrum layer for the cell.
. Converting some of the heat for an overall solar
cell composite.
. More efficient and cheaper.
. Based on polymer solar cell and multi junction
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Future advances will rely on new nanocrystals, such as cadmium
telluride tetrapods.
. Potential to enhance light absorption and further improve charge
Gains can be made by incorporating application-specific organic
components, including electro active surfactants which control the
physical & electronic interactions between polymer and nanocrystals

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Technological Improvements
Multijunction Devices
. Stack of individual single junction cells in descending order of
. Top cell captures high energy photons and passes rest on to
lower bandgap cells.
. Mechanical stack:
. Two individual solar cells are made independently.
. Then are mechanically stacked, one on top of another.
. Monolithic stack:
. One complete solar cell is made first.
. Layers of subsequent cells are grown or deposited.
. Example: GaAs Multijunction
. Triple junction cells of semiconductors: GaAs, Ge and GaInP2.

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 Intrinsic efficiency limit for a solar cell using a single
semiconducting material is 31%.
• Light with energy below the bandgap of the
semiconductor will not be absorbed
• The excess photon energy above the bandgap is lost in
the form of heat.
Single crystal GaAs cell: 25.1% AM1.5, 1x
 Multijunction (MJ) tandem cell
• Maximum thermodynamically achievable efficiencies
are increased to 50%, 56%, and 72% for stacks of 2, 3,
and 36 junctions with appropriately optimized energy

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Design Rules for High Performance
• For a high solar cell efficiency, simultaneously need high
absorption, collection, open circuit voltage and fill factor.
• Absorption and collection are typically achievable by
clever. engineering & innovation.
• Voltage is controlled by worst, localized region, NOT the
same region which absorbs the light . this is
fundamentally why single crystal solar cells are highest
• Predictive models and design rules for all characteristics
are necessary for the device parameters.

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Symbol of PV Cell

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PV Cells, Modules, & Arrays

Photovoltaic cells are connected electrically in series and/or parallel circuits to

produce higher voltages, currents and power levels.

Photovoltaic modules consist of PV cell circuits sealed in an environmentally

protective laminate, and are the fundamental building block of PV systems.

Photovoltaic panels include one or more PV modules assembled as a pre-wired,

field-installable unit. A photovoltaic array is the complete power-generating unit,
consisting of any number of PV modules and panels.

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PV System Components

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Solar Cell Panels

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How a PV System Works

PV systems are like any other electrical power generating

systems, just the equipment used is different than that used
for conventional electromechanical generating systems.

Depending on the functional and operational requirements of the system,

the specific components required, and may include major components
DC-AC power inverter, battery bank, system and battery controller,
auxiliary energy sources and sometimes the specified electrical load

In addition, an assortment of balance of system (BOS) hardware, Including

wiring, overcurrent, surge protection and disconnect devices, and other
power processing equipment.

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Types of PV Systems

The two principle classifications are

 grid-connected or utility-interactive systems
 stand-alone systems.

Photovoltaic systems can be designed to provide DC and/or

AC power service, can operate interconnected with or
independent of the utility grid, and can be connected with
other energy sources and energy storage

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Diagram of stand-alone PV system with
Diagram of grid-connected photovoltaic system battery storage powering DC and AC loads.

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Stand-alone PV systems are
designed to operate
independent of the electric
utility grid, and are
generally designed and
sized to supply certain DC
and/or AC electrical loads.

These types of systems

may be powered by a PV
array only, or may use
wind, an engine-generator
or utility power as an photovoltaic hybrid system.
auxiliary power source in
what is called a PV-hybrid

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The simplest type of stand-alone PV system is a direct-coupled system, where the DC output of a PV module or array is
directly connected to a DC load

Since there is no electrical energy storage (batteries) in direct-coupled systems, the load only operates during sunlight hours,
making these designs suitable for common applications such as ventilation fans, water pumps, and small circulation pumps
for solar thermal water heating systems.

Matching the impedance of the electrical load to the maximum power output of the PV array is a critical part of designing
well-performing direct-coupled system.

For certain loads such as positive-displacement water pumps, a type of electronic DC-DC converter, called a maximum power
point tracker (MPPT) is used between the array and load to help better utilize the available array maximum power output.

Direct-coupled PV system.

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• Clean
• Sustainable
• Free
• Provide electricity to remote

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Disadvantages of Solar Energy
• Less efficient and costly equipment
• Part Time
• Reliability Depends On Location
• Environmental Impact of PV Cell

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Maximum Power Point:
• It is a two-step procedure. First step is to plot ‘voltage’
Vs ‘power’ graph of the cell.
• Power is calculated by multiplying voltage across the
cell with corresponding current through the cell.
• From the plot, maximum power point is located and
corresponding voltage is noted.
• The second step is to go to the V-I characteristics of the
cell and locate the current corresponding to the
voltage at maximum power point.
• This current is called the current at maximum power
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• The point at which Imp and Vmp meet is the
maximum power point.
• This is the point at which maximum power is
available from the PV cell.
• If the ‘load line’ crosses this point precisely, then
the maximum power can be transferred to this
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