Exploring the benefits, challenges, and feasibility of integrating power electronics into c-Si solar cells

David A. van Nijen*, Patrizio Manganiello, Miro Zeman, Olindo Isabella

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleScientificpeer-review

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Abstract

Power electronics traditionally plays a crucial role in conditioning the power of photovoltaic (PV) modules and connecting the systems to the electricity grid. Recently, PV module designs with more sub-module power electronics are gaining increased attention. These designs can offer higher reliability and improved resilience against non-uniform illumination. In this review, we explore an innovative method to facilitate sub-module power electronics, which is to integrate the power components into crystalline silicon (c-Si) PV cells. This approach has the potential to enable numerous design innovations. However, the fabrication processes of the integrated power electronics should be compatible with the PV cell fabrication methods. Moreover, only a limited amount of additional processing steps can be added with respect to standard solar cell manufacturing processes to achieve a cost-effective design. After reviewing previous research on this topic, we propose various new design possibilities for PV-cell-integrated diodes, transistors, capacitors, and inductors. Furthermore, we discuss the technical trade-offs and challenges that need to be overcome for successful industry adoption.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100944
Number of pages26
JournalCell Reports Physical Science
Volume3
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Keywords

  • crystalline silicon
  • partial shading
  • photovoltaics
  • photovoltatronics
  • power electronics
  • shading tolerance
  • solar energy
  • urban PV

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