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Antireflective Coatings with Infrared Reflectance for Silicon Solar Cells – A Techno-Economic Analysis

By J. Mousinho Latino Tavares

Abstract

Antireflective coatings with infrared reflectance were investigated as a possible solution to limit the operating temperature in silicon photovoltaic modules and increase its efficiency. Compared to other temperature regulatory techniques, i.e. air/water cooling systems, the antireflective solution has the potential to be cheaper, does not require maintenance and does not consume extra electricity. To the best of our knowledge, using multi-layer dielectric films reflection to regulate PV modules temperature had not been investigated before. A technical and economic analysis was performed to the several investigated ARC designs. Assemblies of up to 10 layers of alternating high and low refractive index materials were optically simulated using GenPro4 software and a simple heat balance was performed to determine the performance of the cells under operating conditions. The material combination currently used in the fabrication of the antireflective coating, SiNx/SiO2, was investigated. Two other promising combinations, namely TiO2/MgF2 and TiO2/SiO2, were also investigated. For all the material combinations investigated, the best coating designs have 7 and 4 layers. The 7 layer coatings perform better than the coatings with 4 layers, however, the results obtained show that a higher number of layers does not necessarily provide higher reflection. The most promising coatings were economically assessed to determine the viability of the investment. The alternative material combinations investigated have shown to be preferable to the current choice of materials. In fact, in all scenarios, the best performing coatings were the 7 layer TiO2/MgF2 and TiO2/SiO2 designs. The best performing coating was found to be the 7 layer TiO2/MgF2 coating. The maximum temperature reduction achieved relatively to the reference case was 6.8°C corresponding to a higher energy output of 306kWh achieved over a 15 year period. On the other hand, the cost of the second best performing coating, the TiO2/SiO2 7 layer coating, was calculated to be 0.11-0.23€cnt./kWh lower than the reference costs in all of the scenarios investigated. The unexpensive sol-gel technique is the main cause for the low costs of these coatings. The low cost sol-gel deposition technique might make it economically feasible to further increase the number of layers beyond the previously established limit of 10, thus increasing the potential for achieving lower operating temperatures in photovoltaics

Topics: Antireflective coatings, Infrared reflection, ARC modeling, Multi-layer coatings for Silicon cells.
Year: 2016
OAI identifier: oai:dspace.library.uu.nl:1874/335006
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