Special Issue "Solar Cells and Modules: Fabrication, Characterization, and Environmental Issues"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 20 March 2021.

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Jürgen Heinz Werner
Website
Guest Editor
Institute for Photovoltaics and Research Center SCoPE, University of Stuttgart, 70569 Stuttgart, Germany
Interests: solar cells; photovoltaics; renewable energy; energy storage; energy conversion; solid state electronics

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

At present, almost 600 GW of solar modules are installed worldwide. This power corresponds to an area of around 4000 km². The installed area is increasing daily by about three soccer fields, a number which, in terms of the total power and area, increases exponentially. The production cost of photovoltaic electricity ranges around a few ct/kWh and is lower than the cost of electricity from coal or nuclear power plants. Thus, the road to an environmentally friendly supply with electricity has been paved. Nevertheless, this success is accompanied by dynamic growth and creates certain problems. For example, some of the cell and module technologies contain toxic materials, such as lead and cadmium. These materials could leach out of the modules. Additionally, some modules degrade in electrical power. This Special Issue of Energies calls for papers in the following fields:

  • Stability and degradation of solar modules;
  • Reduction of material consumption (glass, Pb, Ag, Si, etc.);
  • Potential induced degradation;
  • Toxic materials and leaching experiments;
  • Recycling and waste management of photovoltaic modules;
  • Lowering of electricity cost;
  • Novel methods for the characterization of large area photovoltaic fields;
  • Energy yield improvements by bifaciality, temperature management, etc.

Prof. Dr. Jürgen Heinz Werner
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Energies is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

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

  • solar modules
  • degradation
  • stability
  • toxic materials
  • waste
  • recycling
  • measurement techniques

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Size- and Surface-Dependent Solubility of Cadmium Telluride in Aqueous Solutions
Energies 2021, 14(2), 398; https://doi.org/10.3390/en14020398 - 12 Jan 2021
Abstract
Due to the toxicity of cadmium (Cd) and the scarcity of telluride (Te), CdTe-based photovoltaic modules have been under discussion during the last few years. In particular, the stability of CdTe in aqueous solutions is under debate. Here we show that the stability [...] Read more.
Due to the toxicity of cadmium (Cd) and the scarcity of telluride (Te), CdTe-based photovoltaic modules have been under discussion during the last few years. In particular, the stability of CdTe in aqueous solutions is under debate. Here we show that the stability of CdTe depends not only on the pH of water-based solutions but also on size and surface treatment of CdTe particles. We compare milled module pieces with CdTe powders of different particle size. The leaching of CdTe is conditioned by the outdiffusion of Cd and Te at the interface between CdTe particles and the aqueous solution. The smaller the particle size, the faster the leaching. Therefore, milled module pieces decompose faster than CdTe powders with relatively large grains. We observe a dependence on time t according to t0.43. The room temperature diffusion coefficients are calculated as DCd ≈ 3 × 10−17 cm2/s for Cd, and DTe ≈ 1.5 × 10−17 cm2/s for Te in pH4. The chemical instability in aqueous solutions follows thermodynamic considerations. The solution behavior of Cd and Te depends on the pH value and the redox potential of the aqueous solutions. Chemical treatments such as those used in solar cell production modify the surface of the CdTe particles and their leaching behavior. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
A Study of the Electrical Output and Reliability Characteristics of the Crystalline Photovoltaic Module According to the Front Materials
Energies 2021, 14(1), 163; https://doi.org/10.3390/en14010163 - 30 Dec 2020
Abstract
In recent years, various types of installations such as floating photovoltaic (PV) and agri-voltaic systems, and BIPV (building integrated photovoltaic system) have been implemented in PV systems and, accordingly, there is a growing demand for new PV designs and materials. In particular, in [...] Read more.
In recent years, various types of installations such as floating photovoltaic (PV) and agri-voltaic systems, and BIPV (building integrated photovoltaic system) have been implemented in PV systems and, accordingly, there is a growing demand for new PV designs and materials. In particular, in order to install a PV module in a building, it is important to reduce the weight of the module. The PV module in which low-iron, tempered glass is applied to the front surface, which is generally used, has excellent electrical output and reliability characteristics; however, it is heavy. In order to reduce the weight of the PV module, it is necessary to use a film or plastic-based material, as opposed to low-iron, tempered glass, on the front surface. However, if a material other than glass is used on the front of the PV module, various problems such as reduced electrical output and reduced reliability may occur. Therefore, in this paper, a PV module using a film instead of glass as the front surface was fabricated, and a characteristic analysis and reliability test were conducted. First, the transmittance and UV characteristics of each material were tested, and one-cell and 24-cell PV modules were fabricated and tested for electrical output and reliability. From the results, it was found that the transmittance and UV characteristics of the front material were excellent. In addition, the electrical output and reliability test results confirmed that the front-surface film was appropriate for use in a PV module. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Degradation Rate Location Dependency of Photovoltaic Systems
Energies 2020, 13(24), 6751; https://doi.org/10.3390/en13246751 - 21 Dec 2020
Abstract
A main challenge towards ensuring improved lifetime performance and reduction of financial risks of photovoltaic (PV) technologies remains the accurate degradation quantification of field systems and the dependency of this performance loss rate to climatic conditions. The purpose of this study is to [...] Read more.
A main challenge towards ensuring improved lifetime performance and reduction of financial risks of photovoltaic (PV) technologies remains the accurate degradation quantification of field systems and the dependency of this performance loss rate to climatic conditions. The purpose of this study is to address these technological issues by presenting a unified methodology for accurately calculating the degradation rate (RD) of PV systems and provide evidence that degradation mechanisms are location dependent. The method followed included the application of data inference and time series analytics, in the scope of comparing the long-term RD of different crystalline Silicon (c-Si) PV systems, installed at different climatic locations. The application of data quality and filtering steps ensured data fidelity for the RD analysis. The yearly RD results demonstrated that the adopted time series analytical techniques converged after 7 years and were in close agreement to the degradation results obtained from indoor standardized procedures. Finally, the initial hypothesis that the RD is location dependent was verified, since the multicrystalline silicon (multi-c-Si) systems at the warm climatic region exhibited higher degradation compared to the respective systems at the moderate climate. For the investigated monocrystalline silicon (mono-c-Si) systems the location-dependency is also affected by the manufacturing technology. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Clarification of Catalytic Effect on Large Stretchable and Compressible Rubber Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells
Energies 2020, 13(24), 6658; https://doi.org/10.3390/en13246658 - 17 Dec 2020
Abstract
Rubber involving magnetic compound fluid (MCF) and TiO2 is effective in dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs) to create large efficacy. Wearable and portable solar cells made of MCF rubber are the most desirable as soft materials in robots or flexible devices, and they [...] Read more.
Rubber involving magnetic compound fluid (MCF) and TiO2 is effective in dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs) to create large efficacy. Wearable and portable solar cells made of MCF rubber are the most desirable as soft materials in robots or flexible devices, and they are further desirable because they have self-generated power and power supply with sensing. Therefore, we investigated the effect of TiO2 catalysts on the photovoltaic effect of MCF rubber DSSCs under large tension and compression. The characteristics of the built-in electricity and photoelectricity were clarified experimentally. The experimental results were explained by a chemical–photovoltaic mechanism involving the behavior of dye, electrolytes, water, and rubber molecules, as well as a catalytic effect of the metal component of the MCF on Ni, Fe3O4, and TiO2. Once we are able to produce solar cells that have large tension and compression, the present experimental results and the model of the chemical–photovoltaic mechanism will be of great interest. Full article
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Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Title: Clarification of the Chemical-Photovoltaic Mechanism and the Effect of TiO2 Catalysts on Large Stretchable and Compressible Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells (DSSC) Made with Rubber by Utilizing Magnetic Compound Fluid (MCF)
Authors: Kunio Shimada
Affiliation: Fukushima University, Japan
Abstract: Rubber involving magnetic compound fluid (MCF) and TiO2 is effective in dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs) to create large efficacy. Wearable and portable solar cells made of MCF rubber are the most desirable as soft materials in robots or flexible devices, and are further desirable because they have self-generated power and power supply with sensing. Therefore, we investigated the effect of TiO2 catalysts on the photovoltaic effect of MCF rubber DSSCs under large tension and compression. The characteristics of the built-in electricity and photoelectricity were clarified experimentally. The experimental results were explained by a chemical-photovoltaic mechanism involving the behavior of dye, electrolytes, water, rubber molecules, and catalytic effect of the metal component of the MCF on Ni, Fe3O4 as well as TiO2. Once we are able to produce solar cells that have large tension and compression, the present experimental results and the model of the chemical-photovoltaic mechanism will be of great interest.

 

Title: Review of state of the art recycling methods for dye sensitized solar cells
Authors: Fabian Schoden
Affiliation: University of Applied Sciences of Bielefeld, Germany
Abstract: One of the great challenges of our time is climate change. To face it and reduce CO2 emissions renewable energies play an important role. The expansion of green technology however has a downside as well. Huge amounts of material is needed and in case of wind turbines or photovoltaic systems, concepts for deconstruction after the useful life were developed much too late or are still missing. This results in a lot of valuable material mixed with toxic compounds considered waste. By Phasing out coal and fossil fuels in favor of renewable energy sources a lot of valuable material needs to be recycled. So far dye sensitized solar cells (DSSC) only play a supporting role in phasing out fossil fuels. However recent progress in research indicates that DSSCs could be integrated in various objects, like textiles, electronics or buildings for instance. That is why; the state of the art in recycling and possible advances for a better circularity of DSSCs is reviewed in this work. This way holistic concepts for a sustainable technology could be supported.

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