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High-Efficiency Crystalline Photovoltaics

NREL is working to increase cell efficiency and reduce manufacturing costs for the highest-efficiency photovoltaic (PV) devices involving single-crystal silicon and III-Vs.

We are key players in developing low-cost, manufacturable techniques for increasing the efficiency of advanced silicon cells and are at the forefront of developing the highest-efficiency III-V multijunction cells for space and high-concentration terrestrial applications. We are also a driving force in three industry-relevant areas: low-cost III-V PV cells for 1-sun and low-concentration terrestrial applications, very high-efficiency (>30%) silicon-based tandem cells, and thermophotovoltaics for energy storage.

Silicon Solar Cells

We are focusing on high-efficiency, low-cost silicon PV, considering the urgent need to develop high-throughput, low-cost, robust processes and device architectures that enable highly efficient n-type Czochralski wafer silicon cells.

III-V Multijunction Solar Cells

The efficiency and concentration of III-V multijunction solar cells can be highly leveraged to reduce the cost of high-concentration PV systems. We are recognized for the invention, development, and technology transfer of a range of key device architectures, most recently including the inverted metamorphic multijunction solar cell.

Low-Cost III-V Solar Cells

We are developing methods to greatly reduce the cost of manufacturing III-V solar cells. This work aims to achieve single-junction cells with efficiencies >25% and tandems with efficiencies >30%, for one-sun and low-concentration applications.

Hybrid Tandem Solar Cells

We are developing high-efficiency III-V/silicon tandem solar cells by epitaxial and stacking/bonding approaches. Our work in epitaxial III-V/Si uses an approach based on selective-area growth enabled by patterning via nanoimprint lithography. In the stacking/bonding approach, we are developing a novel cell structure using transparent, conductive adhesives for cell stacking to enable inexpensive stacked tandem cells.

David Young