Project N. 270722-1-ERG
The research, development and demonstration activities performed inside the ERG project focus on the solar energy supply chain, starting form solar cells and proceeding along with innovative energy extraction (harvesting) techniques, high-efficiency power conversion and finally managing the energy distribution inside a smart grid, with the target of different classes of applications, from house to small area, as well as application-specific “local grids” (healthcare, automotive, etc.).
By considering the full solar energy supply chain, consistent improvements of the industrial state-of-the-art in the efficiency of solar cells, in the optimization of energy generated by photovoltaic systems, in the loss reduction of power converters and, finally, in energy management strategy, have been achieved.
PV cells are the initial chain-link of the energy value chain. Starting from this point, a set of innovative solar cells have been designed and developed. In particular, as a major target of the project, the development of an ultra-thin (approximately 1-3 micron) Si-PV cell and module based on the amorphous Si / microcrystalline Si tandem configuration incorporating a novel Si hetero-junction in the microcrystalline Si cell with performance well above the state of art has been achieved, as shown in Figure 2 Top. Complete PV modules demonstrator (1.4m2 area) with Si heterojunction have been fabricated and tested both in laboratory and directly under sun exposure showing +5% efficiency improvements with respect to modules without Si hetero-junction.
Moreover, novel approaches to solar cell manufacturing equipment for screen-printing, Si cell doping, laser processing, with focus to the case of ultra-thin Si wafer cells and Metal Wrap Through (MWT) Si cells (see Fig. 2, bottom) have been pursued. As a promising low-cost alternative to Si, the project ERG has also developed a totally printable dye-sensitized-solar-cells (DSSC), including printable electrolyte (to replace liquid electrolyte), advanced TiO2 electrode, counter electrode materials, and a novel perovskyte solar cell (to meet high performance DSSC applications).
Coordinator for CNR and WP1: Salvatore Lombardo