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Field and laboratory studies of the stability of amorphous silicon solar cells and modules

Lund, C.P., Luczak, K., Pryor, T., Cornish, J.C.L., Jennings, P.J., Knipe, P. and Ahjum, F. (1999) Field and laboratory studies of the stability of amorphous silicon solar cells and modules. In: Proceedings of the World Renewable Energy Congress, 10 - 13 February, Perth, Western Australia pp. 391-397.

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lf photovoltaic solar cells and modules are to be used as a major source of power generation it is important to have a good knowledge and understanding of their long-term performance under different climatic and operating conditions. A number of studies of the long-term performance of commercially available photovoltaic modules manufactured using different technologies have now been reported in the literature. These have shown clear differences in the seasonal and long term performance and stability. These studies are reviewed, with particular emphasis on performances in climates typical of the Asia-Pacific region.

In addition to general module engineering factors that result in a loss of performance in all modules some types of solar cells, such as those made from thin film amorphous silicon (a-Si:H), also suffer specific losses in performance due to fundamental material changes, such as photodegradation or the Staebler-Wronski effect (SWE). A field evaluation of the long term performance of state-of-the-art crystalline and amorphous silicon photovoltaic modules in Australian conditions is currently being undertaken at Murdoch U Diversity. The initial results from this monitoring program are reported. This paper also reports on laboratory and field studies being undertaken on the nature of the Staebler-Wronski effect in amorphous silicon solar cells and how the stability of these cells is affected by different operating conditions. Based on a mechanism for the SWE in a-Si:H solar cells developed as a result of our research we propose a number of possible ways to reduce the Staebler-Wronski effect in a-Si:H solar cells.

Item Type: Conference Paper
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences
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