Special Issue "Nano-Structured Solar Cells 2020"

A special issue of Energies (ISSN 1996-1073). This special issue belongs to the section "Energy Storage and Application".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 December 2021.

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Narottam Das
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
School of Engineering and Technology, Higher Education Division, CQUniversity Australia, Melbourne, VIC 3000, Australia
Interests: nano-structured solar cells; thin film solar cells; photovoltaic (PV) cells; plasmonics solar cells; nanotechnology; semiconductor devices; solar cells and PV systems; renewable energy technology; smart grid systems; IEC 61850 for substation automation system
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Nano-structured or thin-film solar cells are an exciting and promising approach for renewable (i.e., photovoltaics (PV)) energy generation and it offers variety of choices in terms of device design, modelling, fabrication, and analysis for the improvement of conversion efficiency. Nano-structured or thin-film technologies have a great potential to reduce the cost by eliminating wafer slicing and reducing the material consumption by a factor of more than ten. Existing progress in solar or PV systems is causing the demand for silicon wafers to outstrip the capacity to supply, creating a market entry opportunity for a number of competing thin-film technologies, as well as nano-structured solar cells. An absorber layer can be deposited at the required thickness, greatly reducing wastage provided source material utilisation is a very good approach. There are variety of substrates, such as insulators or metals, are used for the deposition of different layers using different deposition techniques. This versatility allows tailoring and engineering of the layers in order to improve the device performance and to improve the conversion efficiency of nano-structured solar or PV cells. For large-area devices required for realistic applications, thin-film device fabrication becomes complex and requires proper control over the entire process. Hence, proper understanding of thin-film deposition processes can assist in achieving high conversion efficiency for different nano-structured or PV cells. Research and development is a new, exotic and simple materials and devices, and innovative, but simple manufacturing processes need to be pursued in a focussed manner. Therefore, we welcome research and review papers (both theoretical and experimental) for the development of high conversion efficiency thin film solar or nano-structured solar or PV cells and related areas. This Special Issue will cover the following, but not limited to this list:

  • Nano-structured solar or PV cells
  • Nano-structured solar cells for high conversion efficiency
  • Thin film solar cells
  • Plasmonics solar cells
  • PV array systems
  • Design and modeling of plasmonics solar cells
  • Muli-junction solar cells
  • Solar cells and PV systems
  • Nanotechnology for improvement of solar cell conversion efficiency
  • Semiconductor devices for the development of thin film solar cells
  • Renewable energy technologies for the development of high effocienvcy solar cells

We welcome papers on nano-structred solar cells, thin-film solar cells, semiconductor devices, PV systems, plasmoniuc solar cells, as well as cutting-edge examples or models from industrial practice that can be used to encourage sustainable development and performance of thin film solar cells for the improvement of conversion efficiency.

Dr. Narottam Das, SMIEEE
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • thin film solar cells
  • nano-structured solar cells
  • PV array systems modelling
  • multi-junction solar cells
  • development of thin film solar technology
  • design and modeling of solar cells
  • materials structure and layers for solar cells
  • light trapping in solar cells
  • plasmonic nanostructured for solar cells
  • PV systems for high conversion efficiency
  • nanotechnology for the development of solar cells
  • semiconductors for thin film solar cells
  • renewable energy technologies
  • high efficiency solar cells

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

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Article
Solar Cell Technology Selection for a PV Leaf Based on Energy and Sustainability Indicators—A Case of a Multilayered Solar Photovoltaic Tree
Energies 2020, 13(23), 6439; https://doi.org/10.3390/en13236439 - 05 Dec 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 577
Abstract
Harnessing energy from the sunlight using solar photovoltaic trees (SPVTs) has become popular at present as they reduce land footprint and offer numerous complimentary services that offset infrastructure. The SPVT’s complimentary services are noticeable in many ways, e.g., electric vehicle charging stations, landscaping, [...] Read more.
Harnessing energy from the sunlight using solar photovoltaic trees (SPVTs) has become popular at present as they reduce land footprint and offer numerous complimentary services that offset infrastructure. The SPVT’s complimentary services are noticeable in many ways, e.g., electric vehicle charging stations, landscaping, passenger shelters, onsite energy generated security poles, etc. Although the SPVT offers numerous benefits and services, its deployment is relatively slower due to the challenges it suffers. The most difficult challenges include the structure design, the photovoltaic (PV) cell technology selection for a leaf, and uncertainty in performance due to weather parameter variations. This paper aims to provide the most practical solution supported by the performance prioritization approach (PPA) framework for a typical multilayered SPVT. The proposed PPA framework considers the energy and sustainability indicators and helps in reporting the performance of a multilayered SPVT, with the aim of selecting an efficient PV leaf design. A three-layered SPVT (3-L SPVT) is simulated; moreover, the degradation-influenced lifetime energy performance and carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions were evaluated for three different PV-cell technologies, namely crystalline silicon (c-Si), copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS), and cadmium telluride (CdTe). While evaluating the performance of the 3-L SPVT, the power conversion efficiency, thermal regulation, degradation rate, and lifecycle carbon emissions were considered. The results of the 3-L SPVT were analyzed thoroughly, and it was found that in the early years, the c-Si PV leaves give better energy yields. However, when degradation and other influencing weather parameters were considered over its lifetime, the SPVT with c-Si leaves showed a lowered energy yield. Overall, the lifetime energy and CO2 emission results indicate that the CdTe PV leaf outperforms due to its lower degradation rate compared to c-Si and CIGS. On the other side, the benefits associated with CdTe cells, such as flexible and ultrathin glass structure as well as low-cost manufacturing, make them the best acceptable PV leaf for SPVT design. Through this investigation, we present the selection of suitable solar cell technology for a PV leaf. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nano-Structured Solar Cells 2020)
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Article
Simulation, Analysis, and Characterization of Calcium-Doped ZnO Nanostructures for Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells
Energies 2020, 13(18), 4863; https://doi.org/10.3390/en13184863 - 17 Sep 2020
Viewed by 548
Abstract
In this research article, the authors have discussed the simulation, analysis, and characterization of calcium-doped zinc oxide (Ca-doped-ZnO) nanostructures for advanced generation solar cells. A comparative study has been performed to envisage the effect of Ca-doped ZnO nanoparticles (NP), seeded Ca-doped ZnO nanorods [...] Read more.
In this research article, the authors have discussed the simulation, analysis, and characterization of calcium-doped zinc oxide (Ca-doped-ZnO) nanostructures for advanced generation solar cells. A comparative study has been performed to envisage the effect of Ca-doped ZnO nanoparticles (NP), seeded Ca-doped ZnO nanorods (NR), and unseeded Ca-doped ZnO NR as photoanodes in dye-sensitized solar cells. Simulations were performed in MATLAB fuzzy logic controller to study the effect of various structures on the overall solar cell efficiency. The simulation results show an error of less than 1% in between the simulated and calculated values. This work shows that the diameter of the seeded Ca-doped ZnO NR is greater than that of the unseeded Ca-doped ZnO NR. The incorporation of Ca in the ZnO nanostructure is confirmed using XRD graphs and an EDX spectrum. The optical band gap of the seeded substrate is 3.18 eV, which is higher compared to those of unseeded Ca-doped ZnO NR and Ca-doped ZnO NP, which are 3.16 eV and 3.13 ev, respectively. The increase in optical band gap results in the improvement of the overall solar cell efficiency of the seeded Ca-doped ZnO NR to 1.55%. The incorporation of a seed layer with Ca-doped ZnO NR increases the fill factor and the overall efficiency of dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSC). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nano-Structured Solar Cells 2020)
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Article
Light Reflection Loss Reduction by Nano-Structured Gratings for Highly Efficient Next-Generation GaAs Solar Cells
Energies 2020, 13(16), 4198; https://doi.org/10.3390/en13164198 - 14 Aug 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 623
Abstract
This paper mainly focuses on increasing the conversion efficiency of GaAs solar cells by reducing the light reflection losses. The design of nano-structured gratings and their light trapping performance are modelled and optimised by using the finite-difference time-domain (FDTD) method. The sunlight directly [...] Read more.
This paper mainly focuses on increasing the conversion efficiency of GaAs solar cells by reducing the light reflection losses. The design of nano-structured gratings and their light trapping performance are modelled and optimised by using the finite-difference time-domain (FDTD) method. The sunlight directly impinges on the solar panel or cells, then a portion of the incident sunlight reflects back to the air from the surface of the panel, thus leading to a reduction in the light absorption capacity of the solar cells. In order to proliferate the light absorption capacity of solar cells nano-grating structures are employed, as they are highly capable of capturing the incident sunlight compared to a conventional (or flat type) solar cell, which results in generating more electrical energy. In this study, we design three different types of nano-grating structures, optimise their parameters and their performance in light capturing capacity. From the simulation results, we confirm that that it is possible to reduce light reflection losses up to 27%, by using the nano-grating structures, compared to conventional type solar cells. This reduction of reflection losses helps to improve the conversion efficiency of next-generation GaAs solar cells significantly for a sustainable green Earth. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nano-Structured Solar Cells 2020)
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Article
Optimal PV Parameter Estimation via Double Exponential Function-Based Dynamic Inertia Weight Particle Swarm Optimization
Energies 2020, 13(15), 4037; https://doi.org/10.3390/en13154037 - 04 Aug 2020
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 1163
Abstract
Parameters associated with electrical equivalent models of the photovoltaic (PV) system play a significant role in the performance enhancement of the PV system. However, the accurate estimation of these parameters signifies a challenging task due to the higher computational complexities and non-linear characteristics [...] Read more.
Parameters associated with electrical equivalent models of the photovoltaic (PV) system play a significant role in the performance enhancement of the PV system. However, the accurate estimation of these parameters signifies a challenging task due to the higher computational complexities and non-linear characteristics of the PV modules/panels. Hence, an effective, dynamic, and efficient optimization technique is required to estimate the parameters associated with PV models. This paper proposes a double exponential function-based dynamic inertia weight (DEDIW) strategy for the optimal parameter estimation of the PV cell and module that maintains an appropriate balance between the exploitation and exploration phases to mitigate the premature convergence problem of conventional particle swarm optimization (PSO). The proposed approach (DEDIWPSO) is validated for three test systems; (1) RTC France solar cell, (2) Photo-watt (PWP 201) PV module, and (3) a practical test system (JKM330P-72, 310 W polycrystalline PV module) which involve data collected under real environmental conditions for both single- and double-diode models. Results illustrate that the parameters obtained from proposed technique are better than those from the conventional PSO and various other techniques presented in the literature. Additionally, a comparison of the statistical results reveals that the proposed methodology is highly accurate, reliable, and efficient. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nano-Structured Solar Cells 2020)
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Article
Design of Silicon Nanowire Array for PEDOT:PSS-Silicon Nanowire-Based Hybrid Solar Cell
Energies 2020, 13(15), 3797; https://doi.org/10.3390/en13153797 - 24 Jul 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1280
Abstract
Among various photovoltaic devices, the poly 3, 4-ethylenedioxythiophene:poly styrenesulfonate (PEDOT:PSS) and silicon nanowire (SiNW)-based hybrid solar cell is getting momentum for the next generation solar cell. Although, the power-conversion efficiency of the PEDOT:PSS–SiNW hybrid solar cell has already been reported above 13% by [...] Read more.
Among various photovoltaic devices, the poly 3, 4-ethylenedioxythiophene:poly styrenesulfonate (PEDOT:PSS) and silicon nanowire (SiNW)-based hybrid solar cell is getting momentum for the next generation solar cell. Although, the power-conversion efficiency of the PEDOT:PSS–SiNW hybrid solar cell has already been reported above 13% by many researchers, it is still at a primitive stage and requires comprehensive research and developments. When SiNWs interact with conjugate polymer PEDOT:PSS, the various aspects of SiNW array are required to optimize for high efficiency hybrid solar cell. Therefore, the designing of silicon nanowire (SiNW) array is a crucial aspect for an efficient PEDOT:PSS–SiNW hybrid solar cell, where PEDOT:PSS plays a role as a conductor with an transparent optical window just-like as metal-semiconductor Schottky solar cell. This short review mainly focuses on the current research trends for the general, electrical, optical and photovoltaic design issues associated with SiNW array for PEDOT:PSS–SiNW hybrid solar cells. The foremost features including the morphology, surface traps, doping of SiNW, which limit the efficiency of the PEDOT:PSS–SiNW hybrid solar cell, will be addressed and reviewed. Finally, the SiNW design issues for boosting up the fill-factor, short-circuit current and open-circuit voltage will be highlighted and discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nano-Structured Solar Cells 2020)
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Article
Experimental Investigations Conducted for the Characteristic Study of OM29 Phase Change Material and Its Incorporation in Photovoltaic Panel
Energies 2020, 13(4), 897; https://doi.org/10.3390/en13040897 - 18 Feb 2020
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 987
Abstract
The solar photovoltaic (PV) system is emerging energetically in meeting the present energy demands. A rise in PV module temperature reduces the electrical efficiency, which fails to meet the expected energy demand. The main objective of this research was to study the nature [...] Read more.
The solar photovoltaic (PV) system is emerging energetically in meeting the present energy demands. A rise in PV module temperature reduces the electrical efficiency, which fails to meet the expected energy demand. The main objective of this research was to study the nature of OM29, which is an organic phase change material (PCM) used for PV module cooling during the summer season. A heat transfer network was developed to minimize the experimental difficulties and represent the working model as an electrical resistance circuit. Most existing PV module temperature (TPV) reduction technology fails to achieve the effective heat transfer from the PV module to PCM because there is an intermediate layer between the PV module and PCM. In this proposed method, liquid PCM is filled directly on the back surface of the PV module to overcome the conduction barrier and PCM attains the thermal energy directly from the PV module. Further, the rear side of the PCM is enclosed by tin combined with aluminium to avoid any leakages during phase change. Experimental results show that the PV module temperature decreased by a maximum of 1.2 °C using OM29 until 08:30. However, after 09:00, the OM29 PCM was unable to lower the TPV because OM29 is not capable of maintaining the latent heat property for a longer time and total amount of the PCM experimented in this study was not sufficient to store the PV module generated thermal energy for an entire day. The inability of the presented PCM to lower the temperature of the PV panel was attributed to the lower melting point of OM29. PCM back sheet was incapable of dissipating the stored PCM’s thermal energy to the ambient, and this makes the experimented PCM unsuitable for the selected location during summer. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nano-Structured Solar Cells 2020)
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Review

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Review
Anti-Reflective Coating Materials: A Holistic Review from PV Perspective
Energies 2020, 13(10), 2631; https://doi.org/10.3390/en13102631 - 21 May 2020
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 1789
Abstract
The solar photovoltaic (PV) cell is a prominent energy harvesting device that reduces the strain in the conventional energy generation approach and endorses the prospectiveness of renewable energy. Thus, the exploration in this ever-green field is worth the effort. From the power conversion [...] Read more.
The solar photovoltaic (PV) cell is a prominent energy harvesting device that reduces the strain in the conventional energy generation approach and endorses the prospectiveness of renewable energy. Thus, the exploration in this ever-green field is worth the effort. From the power conversion efficiency standpoint of view, PVs are consistently improving, and when analyzing the potential areas that can be advanced, more and more exciting challenges are encountered. One such crucial challenge is to increase the photon availability for PV conversion. This challenge is solved using two ways. First, by suppressing the reflection at the interface of the solar cell, and the other way is to enhance the optical pathlength inside the cell for adequate absorption of the photons. Our review addresses this challenge by emphasizing the various strategies that aid in trapping the light in the solar cells. These strategies include the usage of antireflection coatings (ARCs) and light-trapping structures. The primary focus of this study is to review the ARCs from a PV application perspective based on various materials, and it highlights the development of ARCs from more than the past three decades covering the structure, fabrication techniques, optical performance, features, and research potential of ARCs reported. More importantly, various ARCs researched with different classes of PV cells, and their impact on its efficiency is given a special attention. To enhance the optical pathlength, and thus the absorption in solar PV devices, an insight about the advanced light-trapping techniques that deals with the concept of plasmonics, spectral modification, and other prevailing innovative light-trapping structures approaching the Yablonovitch limit is discussed. An extensive collection of information is presented as tables under each core review section. Further, we take a step forward to brief the effects of ageing on ARCs and their influence on the device performance. Finally, we summarize the review of ARCs on the basis of structures, materials, optical performance, multifunctionality, stability, and cost-effectiveness along with a master table comparing the selected high-performance ARCs with perfect AR coatings. Also, from the discussed significant challenges faced by ARCs and future outlook; this work directs the researchers to identify the area of expertise where further research analysis is needed in near future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nano-Structured Solar Cells 2020)
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