Colored optic filters on c-Si IBC solar cells for building integrated photovoltaic applications

Juan Camilo Ortiz Lizcano*, Paul Procel, Andres Calcabrini, Guangtao Yang, Andrea Ingenito, Rudi Santbergen, Miro Zeman, Olindo Isabella

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
19 Downloads (Pure)


Building Integrated Photovoltaic systems can produce a significant portion of the energy demand of urban areas. Despite their potential, they remain a niche technology that architects and project engineers still find esthetically limited. The dark blue or black color of standard photovoltaic panels is considered inappropriate for restoration projects of historic buildings and represents a major constraint on the development of new projects. This work will provide insight into how the use of optic filters can offer new pathways for architectural acceptance of photovoltaic panels. Optic filters selectively reflect or transmit light by interference and can be designed and fabricated using cost-effective and industrially compatible processes. By using in-house developed ray tracing software coupled with TCAD Sentaurus, more than 400 colors were obtained, and their impact on the opto-electrical performance of interdigitated back-contacted solar cells was studied. Results show a maximum efficiency loss of 1.6% absolute at the perpendicular incidence of light on the range of obtained colors when compared with a standard dark blue solar cell. Simulations for different angles of incidence showed that the current reduction on the standard device could be modeled using a cosine relationship. The colored cells, however, deviated significantly from this relationship. We propose that the angular behavior of any cell (colored or standard) could be simulated by modifying the effective irradiance with scaling factors equal to the ratios of the photogenerated current at any angle with respect to the value at normal incidence. We demonstrate that this approach accurately models the effect of the color filter and allows for an easy transition from a bare cell to an encapsulated one. Due to the spectral effect of the filter, we developed both a spectrally resolved optical model and a two-dimensional finite volume transient thermal model. In case of the optical model, we demonstrate an accuracy in the prediction of the reflectance produced by the color with values of mean bias error (MBE) between 2.0% and 3.9%. As for the thermal model, it was validated by first analyzing a standard model under conditions of nominal operating cell temperature and then comparing its results with published scientific literature. Later, we compare its prediction against 2 weeks of measurements. In both cases the thermal model proves an adequate accuracy, yielding differences below 1.5°C with respect to other scientific works and an MBE value of 0.89°C as well as a root-mean-square error value of 2.10°C for the entire measurement period. With the validated models, we studied the effect of the encapsulation on the color perception. We present two options of color filters. The first one produces relatively low reflectance losses and presents relative annual direct current (DC) energy losses of up to 6.4% for Delft, in the Netherlands, and up to 5.9% for Alice Springs in Australia. However, this first option has very poor color brightness. The second studied filter produces highly saturated bright colors. Improving brightness can increase the annual DC relative losses up to 13.7% and 13.5% for Delft and Alice Springs, respectively. Overall, we demonstrate that colored filters based on multilayer optical stacks are a versatile option for coloring cells that allow a good compromise between esthetics and performance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)401-435
Number of pages35
JournalProgress in Photovoltaics: research and applications
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • BIPV
  • c-Si Solar Cells
  • color perception
  • colored modules
  • performance assessment
  • solar energy


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