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Hands-On Photovoltaic Experience

The 2018 Hands-On PV Experience (HOPE) Workshop will be in Golden, Colorado, July 8–13.

Group of 13 people standing outside in front of a building.

Pictured are doctoral students who participated at the 2017 HOPE event at NREL.

The HOPE Workshop is designed to strengthen photovoltaic (PV) research at universities in the United States. HOPE is designed primarily for students, but also requires participation of the professors leading the research and overseeing each student's thesis.

HOPE provides opportunities for professors and graduate students to:

  • Interact with scientists and engineers at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and others from across the United States
  • Learn about PV technology in a hands-on, small-group research setting
    • See solar cells fabricated
    • Perform hands-on measurements.
  • Build a network of research connections with other researchers, professors, and students from across the United States.

In 2017, students in HOPE participated in the fabrication of Si, CdTe, III-V, and perovskite solar cells, as well as quantum efficiency and current-voltage characterization of these cells. They also performed a deep dive into the topic of spectral mismatch corrections in solar cell testing. Students also learned a variety of PV-related characterization techniques, including time of flight secondary ion mass spectrometry (TOF-SIMs), time-resolved photoluminescence, X-ray and ultraviolet photoelectron spectroscopy, scanning probe techniques, and more. Students also learned about PV module fabrication and deconstruction as well as outdoor testing of photovoltaic modules.

Eligible Applicants

HOPE targets professors who are leading PV-related research programs who would like to send a Ph.D. candidate to learn more about fabrication, measurement, or study of photovoltaic materials and devices. A joint application (for both the professor and student) is required. To ensure the quality of the program we are unable to accept all applicants, but encourage application in a second year for those who are not accepted the previous year.

For technical difficulties with application submission, please contact Linh Truong.


Submissions are closed for this year. Applications for summer 2019 will be due in spring 2019.

The workshop is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office.

Workshop Content

Spectral mismatch between lamps used for testing photovoltaic cells and the actual solar spectrum can lead to measurement errors if they are not corrected for. Students at the 2017 Hands-On Photovoltaics Experience workshop at NREL learned how to do proper spectral mismatch corrections when testing photovoltaic cells, and then made a video to explain the technique. Watch this video to learn how to implement spectral mismatch corrections in your own lab.


Adele Tamboli

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