Solar PV technology trends: Understanding the tandem cell technology
Solar cells have come a long way since their invention over 60 years ago. One of the latest advancements in solar technology is the tandem solar cell, which is made by stacking multiple cells on top of each other. Tandem cells have the potential to significantly increase the efficiency of solar modules and reduce the cost of solar energy. In this article, we’ll discuss the benefits of tandem solar cells and summarize them in a table using information from NREL reports.
What are Tandem Solar Cells? Tandem solar cells are made by stacking two or more different types of solar cells on top of each other. Each cell in the stack is designed to capture a different portion of the solar spectrum. By stacking cells with different bandgaps, the tandem cell can capture more energy from the sun than a single-junction cell. The efficiency of the tandem cell is the sum of the efficiencies of each individual cell in the stack.
Benefits of Tandem Solar Cells Tandem solar cells offer several benefits over traditional single-junction cells. Here are some of the key advantages, as summarized in a table:
|Higher Efficiency||Tandem cells can achieve higher efficiency than single-junction cells. According to NREL, the highest efficiency tandem cells have achieved over 30%, while the highest efficiency single-junction cells are around 26%.|
|Cost Savings||Tandem cells can reduce the cost of solar energy by using fewer materials to achieve the same power output. According to NREL, the cost per watt of tandem cells is expected to be lower than that of single-junction cells in the future.|
|Flexibility||Tandem cells can be designed to capture different portions of the solar spectrum, making them more flexible than single-junction cells. This means that they can be optimized for different applications, such as building-integrated photovoltaics or concentrated photovoltaics.|
|Stability||Tandem cells can be more stable than single-junction cells because they can reduce the effects of thermalization losses and current mismatch between the cells. This can help to increase the lifespan of the cell and reduce the maintenance cost.|
Conclusion Tandem solar cells have the potential to revolutionize the solar industry by increasing efficiency, reducing cost, and improving flexibility and stability. Although they are currently more expensive than single-junction cells, they offer a promising path towards achieving grid parity and reducing our reliance on fossil fuels. As research and development continues, it’s likely that tandem cells will become increasingly common in the solar market, paving the way for a cleaner, more sustainable energy future.