Expertise > Solar Energy

Solar cell (photovoltaic cell) converts sunlight into electricity. A photovoltaic (PV) cell utilizes the PV effect for converting light (photons) to electricity (voltage).

Traditional, first generation solar cells are made from c-silicon that dominate due to their high efficiency but suffer from high manufacturing costs.

Second-generation solar cells are called thin-film solar cells because they are made from thin amorphous layers of silicon or other semiconducting materials such as cadmium telluride (CdTe) and Cadmium Indium Gallium Selenide (CIGS). Because of their flexibility and relative transparency, thin film solar cells can be utilize in building integrated photovoltaic applications (BIPV) as shingles and tiles, windows and building facades.

Third-generation solar cells are being made from variety of new materials besides silicon, including dye sensitized solar cells (DSSC), solar inks using conventional printing technologies and conductive plastics.

DSSC, also known as the Grätzel cell, is based on a semiconductor formed between a photosensitized anode and an electrolyte, a photo-electrochemical system. Manufacture cost can be significantly less expensive than c-Si solar cells. Although its conversion efficiency is less than the best thin-film cells, the cost per watt should be low enough to allow DSSC to compete by achieving grid parity.
AVLabs is currently active in developing technologies for efficient Dye Sensitized Solar Cells and c-Si Solar Cells.

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