RAMOT at Tel Aviv University Ltd.

High Voltage Photovoltaic Cells with High Efficiency

Posted by RAMOT at Tel Aviv University Ltd.Responsive · Innovative Products and Technologies · Israel

Summary of the technology

A novel photovoltaic cell is described for converting sunlight to electricity at higher efficiency relative to existing cells, and with improved flexibility for integration in modules, both one-sun and concentrating. The new cell contains many small sub-cells, which are internally connected in series. Such configurations are called Monolithic Integrated Modules (MIM) and they are capable of providing very high open circuit voltage. Our MIM design is based on a monolithic device with vertical PN junctions with significant expected advantages in performance relative to existing MIM designs: higher voltage; smaller contact area and no front metallization grid, leading to higher efficiency; better utilization of the solar spectrum; and better matching to integration in modules including concentrator modules. High-voltage cells can be electrically connected in parallel instead of series, leading to nearly independent operation (voltage-coupled instead of current-coupled) even under non-uniform illumination and even partial shading conditions. This will improve the overall performance of a photovoltaic system, and permit a less demanding and less expensive optical design.
Project ID : 6-2011-180

Description of the technology

Technology

A novel photovoltaic cell converting sunlight to electricity at higher efficiency relative to existing cells, and with improved flexibility for integration in modules, both one-sun and concentrating. The new cells contain many small sub-cells, which are internally connected in series. Such configurations are usually called Monolithic Integrated Modules (MIM) and they are capable of providing very high open circuit voltage. 

The Need

Existing PV cell designs represent a compromise of conflicting physical and electrical effects leading to low efficiency and the subsequent necessity for relatively large areas in order to generate useful amounts of electrical energy. 

Advantages

The new cell design approach improves cell performance, using a new structure that provides high voltage and low current. The new design reduces the inactive cell area, eliminating front surface shading altogether, reduces series resistance losses, and provides an additional degree of freedom for optical vs. electric properties optimization.

Potential Applications

Small high-voltage cells can find applications in fields such as power sources for autonomous portable devices and for MEMS devices. In these cases only small amounts of power (small cell area) are needed, but the voltage must be high enough to power the electronics. A cell that will produce the required voltage without the need for an up-converter will be a significant simplification for these systems and will fill a niche need that is not currently addressed.

Stage of Development

Prototype cells are under construction for subsequent initial testing.

Patents

US patent pending

Project manager

Oren Calfon
VP Business Development, ICT

Project researchers

Yossi Rosenwaks
T.A.U Tel Aviv University, Engineering
School of Electrical Engineering

Abraham Kribus
T.A.U Tel Aviv University, Engineering
School of Mechanical Engineering

Rona Sarfaty
Ort Braude College,

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About RAMOT at Tel Aviv University Ltd.

Technology Transfer Office from Israel

Ramot is Tel Aviv University's (TAU) technology transfer company and its liaison to industry, bringing promising scientific discoveries made at

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