Due to the increasing need for renewable energy sources, photovoltaics has been the fastest growing energy technology since 2002, growing at an approximate rate of 48% per year. Photovoltaic arrays generate a form of renewable electricity that can be used to power grid-tied electrical systems, buildings, transportation, remote area power systems, satellites and space probes, and stand alone devices.
Researchers at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and the University of Colorado have collaborated to develop a high efficiency dual-junction solar cell, which includes a thin multi-quantum well structure. The initial analysis predicts a maximum conversion efficiency of 26% for the long wave junction, which does not include shadowing effects, reflection and unwanted recombination of minority carriers. In combination with a bulk AlGaAs cell with an optimal bandgap of 1.7eV, total efficiency is increased by 12%, while using a QW cell adds another 8% for a total efficiency of 46%.
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