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Hands-On PV Experience (HOPE) Workshop - Text Version

Below is the text version of the Hands-On PV Experience (HOPE) Workshop video.

Sarah Kurtz, Ph.D., Principal Scientist, NREL: It's been my privilege to lead the Hands-On PV Experience or otherwise known as HOPE since 2012. We bring students from across the country in to meet NREL scientists and learn about PV technology in a very interactive environment. The students then take that information back to their home institutions and share that with the other students and then they use those interactions throughout the rest of their career.

Katerina Nikolaidou, University of California, Merced: HOPE was an opportunity for me to visit NREL and see all the facilities they have here and also meet all the great scientists that I've been reading their papers all these years. They've done so much work on solar energy, so I was really looking forward to being here and seeing where it's all done.

Salman Manzoor, Arizona State University: This week at HOPE, we learn how to first make these tandem devices then we learn how to measure their IV curve, their EQE curves, and in order to do that you have to have a very accurate set-up, you have to know that you have to correct for the area of the device, you have to correct for the temperature of the device, you have to correct for the spectral mismatch, you have to take care of the light bias to measure individual sub cells... so those are the things that I learn how to do that and now when I go back to my lab, I'll be able to do more accurate measurements on the devices I make there.

Ryan Ellis, Purdue University: So, one thing I learned quite a bit about was calibrating reference cells and using that to identify and correct for spectral mismatch... and so in our current research group, we do use a reference cell, however, we typically just calibrate it to one sun... so we've kind of learned that you know, you may be getting to one sun on your reference cell but you may be doing that in a way that's more blue light, more red light, and it may not be matching the actual cell you're trying to measure. So learning how to identify spectral mismatch, how to get around it, how to adapt your reference cell using things like filters or actually just getting a new reference cell... and I could take that home to the research group at Purdue and you know, tell our group how to correct from something that we haven't in the past and hopefully get more accurate results.

Sarah Kurtz: I've heard a lot of feedback from both the students and the professors...one student said that the week he spent here he thought would probably shave a full year or maybe even two years off of the time it would take him to complete his Ph.D.

Others have found that this is a way to identify NREL researchers that they can work with later on and we commonly find them back at NREL a few years later. So it's at the start of many interactions and it can be very valuable to the students into setting their career direction.

Silvana Ayala, Former HOPE Participant/Current NREL Intern: I had the opportunity to do the HOPE camp last year and it was an absolutely awesome experience. I'd never really worked before with making silicon cells. I usually just model them optically for my research. So, I learned a lot, I got to meet a lot of researchers, got to work inside of the labs and I think out of that experience, I have now the chance to come and work here for the summer. I've been interning for the last two months, I have one more month to go and it's being absolutely great to do research here.

Ryan Ellis: Yes, I would definitely recommend this. Just in the four days I've been here as of now, I've learned an immense amount...you know it's called the hands-on photovoltaic experience for a reason. It's quite hands-on, you learn lots of things about being in the lab, which you know can be a little different than typical classes where you're sitting there, you're studying the theories, the equations. While that's good, at least for me, one of the fastest ways to learn is to go in the lab, see it done, and do it yourself... and so during this program we do a lot of that, it's very rewarding, very enriching.