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U N K A S se


3.1 Introduction
c.. The direct transformation from the solar radiation energy into electrical energy is possible with
the photovoItaic effectby using solar ce/ls.-+he-tefrtf~tatcis Otten abbreviated to PV.
The radiation energy is transferred by means of the photoeffect directly to the electrons in their
crystals. With the photovoltaic effect an electrical voltage develops in consequence of the
absorption of'the ionizing radiation)Solar cells must be differentiated from photocells wh3se
.. conductivity changes with irradiatiln of sunlight. Phcnocells serve e.g. as exposure cells in . '

cameras since their electrical conductivity can drastically vary with small intensity changes. '

They produce however no own electrical voltage and need therefore c1 battery for operation.

'0. 'The photovoltaic effect was discovered in 1839 by Alexandre ,Edmond Becquerel while
,\>-experimenting with an ,electrolytic cell made u~ of two metal electrodes. Becquerel found that
c~rtain materfals wo,uld produce small amounts of electric current when exposed to light. About'
, 50'years later Charle,s Fritts constructed the first true solar cells using junctions formed by
coating the semlconduct.or selenium with an ultrathin, nearly transparent layer of gold. Fritts's
devices were very inefficient: efficiency less than 1 %.

/?:] The first silicon solar cell with an efficiency of approx. 6% was developed In1954 by three
--;// American res arc Cha in, 'Calvin Fuller and G.l: Pearson in the Bell
laboratories. olar cells prov.a particularly sult;.ably for the" energy production for satellites in
-space ~nd stijl repr,es.2Duoday the exclusive e!:,!!r~v sourc,. pf 'ail space-;;'b-;;: Th; int~resti~-
t~;-trial applicatiQRS has iliCI ea$ed-sinc~ tRe oil!.~i' . ",. Main objective of researCh- and ---.
development is thereby a drastic lowering of the .

- '

, ~----
cost:!> Mdlately also a ,
substantial increase of the~fficien:0 ,J,. '
The base material of aimost\1I solar cells for ! space and on earth i~silicon.
most'Common structure of a.ficon solar cell is schematically represented in Figure 3-1:
" '. .~.~
An approx. 300 lim silicon wafer consists of two layers with different electrical properties
,prepared by doping foreign atom's such as boron an hosphorous. The back surface side is
total metallized for charge carrier coU4(tion-whereas"?nthenti~nL~!1Js.h,~os~s to t e.eam
Ofincident light, only one metal grid is a'pplied in "OrderthatilS'much light asp6stiblec'an- .
penetrate into the cell. The surface is normally provid~d with an antireflection coating to keep
the losses from reflection as small as possible.


I "
-31- '
0049- SII 104 NOI
J _ .I-w,tI""'N
V E R .S


Metal grid
for current collection

0.2 tJ.m
p-type material
- 300 J.Lm

Metallized back surface

Figure J:' I: Schematic drawing ofa silicon solar cell II, 2j

3.2 Charge Transport in the Doped Silicon

Now we consider the doping of silicon. a tetravalent element. which is the most frequent
applied semiconductor material, also for solar cells.

Re lacement of a silicon atom by a pentavalent atom (Fig. 3-2a). e.g. phosphorus (P) Of'

(As). leads to a surplus electron only loosely bound by the Coulomb fo e, W IC can
~ , "
by an energy (ca. 0.002 eV). The uantity eV is an . unit corresponding to the energy
gained by an electron when its potential is increased 'by one volt. Since pentavalent elements
.. donate easily an electron, one calls them donorS":" The donor ato';' is positively charged with the
electron donation (ionized). The current transport in such a material practically occurs only by
means of electrons, it is called n-type material.

Replacement by a trivalent element (Fig. 3-2b), e.g. boron (8). aluminium (AI) or gallium (Ga), .
leads to a lack Of aii electron, Now anelectran in ffif(OifgbbQrbnnd Of a hole call fill up thik' ~
biank and leaves a new hole at its original posltioncanseguently. This results in the current
conduction by means of positive holes. Therefore this material is called p-type material.
Trivalent atoms. which easily accept an electron, are defined as acceptors. The acceptor atoms
are negatively ionized by the electron reception. At ambient temperature donors and acceptors
ar\!' already almost completely ionized in the silicon.

'. -32-
_.."I ...."".'
_ .I,......Lftln
U N I K A S 5 E L<

(a) (b)

I'::\S' I'::\S' I"':\S' 1"':\5' f"':\S. f"':\S'

.\:::I.\!:.J.\:::I. :@:0:@:
, <

:@:@:@: electron

Figure 3-2: Doping of silicon (.1) with pentavalent atom (b) willi trivalent .ltorn
3.3 Effects of ~ P-N Junction
Usually a p-nl!-Jnction is generated by the fact ~at a stron!lJ!:!ype '"yer is produced in the p
type material by indiffusion of a donor (P, As) at hisher temperatures (ca. 850 "C). Completely
analog-rnthe n-typ~m~riaC although less common, a p-n junction can be prod~d bY~
ir...!iffusion of an acceptor.
. - - _.

~ ...
surface'sneighhorhood of the n- or p-type material the 'follOWing effects

occur\.!..n the n-region 50 many electrons ar~avail~b:~. in the p-r";;glon-s'omanY1foles. Tht!se'<

concentration differences lead to the fact that eler.trons frolT' the n-region diffuse into the p

region and holes from the p-region diffuse into the n-region. As a result. diffusion currents of

electrons into the p-region and diffu~lon currents of holes into the Il-region arise (Fig. 3-3).

By the flow of negative and positive charges a deficit of charges develops within the before
electrically neutral regions. i.e. it results a positive charge within the donor region and a
negative charge within the acceptor region. lhus an electrical field deyelop? QVA' the b9I!Qda[~
surface and caus i I urrents from h charge carrier types, "'/hichare against the __
I usion currents. In the equilibrium the total v.1lue of current througll the boundary surface is
zero. The field currents cornpensate completely the diffusion currents: the hole currents
compensate completely among themselves and the electron currents likewise.

DUU- ~61 .0.1101

- - - - - - Diffusion current
--~-.. - Fiord curron!
- - .....- Oilfu!;iOn ,"urrcnl
-- Fiold <.urtCIl'

~Ioctrons holos

I)lcctrical chargcu

n-,oglon: p1l junction I p.roglon It

1- "I
spaco-charge zono

Figure 3-3: Charge carrier distribution a[ P-11 jIJl1ctiolland currents through the junction {I J

This electrosta.tic field extending over the boundiuy surf<lee refers to the potential difference ..
VD, which is called diffusion volralt It is >ituated in the ~de~.~!_~1agnitude gf 0.8 e~. ;rhis
ll!recffieai held ca he separation of the charr ~ c.lrrier~Ilr.9ducS; Q.v.light in tbe ~Iil!:..el!:
Within t e region of the stationary electrical positive ilnd neg.:ltlVp. ch;H~e, In t e 50-ca e
5;iace-cb.iJ~one, a lac1("()frllobi~ ch~;g~ cclrriersappec1rs-:-WhlCh--I~;s verihigh ill1pedanCe',
- -- - - - -..-"- -~.- -
Applying the n-region with a negative voltage (forward bias) reduces the diffusion voltage.
d,,:reases the electrical field strength and thus the field (urrent~, These do not compensate
now the diffusion currents of the electrons and holes, as without external voltage, anymore. As
a a net diffu.sio!l(vrrentf!..omlectrol:lS..aod._boJ~flows through the p-n junction, If the
applied voltage isequaLto the diffusion "oltage~ fie,ld c\Jrre_n~s disappear_ and th~__
current is limited only by the bulk resistors. Contrariiy. an applied posit:ve volt;)ge at the
outside n-region (reverse bias) adds itself to the diffUSIon voltage. increases the spacccharge
zone, thus it comes to outweighing the field current. The resulting current whose direction of
the reverse bias is contrary is very small.
The mathematICal process at the P-Il JUI1Clfull Ic;)d~ 10 tile 1.:lIlIUlI!> diode equ,Hlon'

/ .

I, ((IV\
1U (3-1)
. J
where: diode current [AJ
magr.itude of the electron charge [l.6 . 10- 19 As]
app:ied voi\a~e [V]:

0049- 551 804520S


plus'" forward bias. minus '''' reverse bias

k Bo!tzmann's comtilrlt [8.65 . 1 Os eVjK]
T absolute temperature !Kj

The quantity 1// defines the so-called diirk- or 5ilturation currerit of a dioeie. It plays a very
c::::::::t; [ .: ::::J .......... ~ .
large role of the performance of a solar cell.
-7 _. V" 0* ~., ~>

3.4 Physical Processes in Solar Cells

3.4.1 Opticalabsorption

light, which falls on a solar cell, can be reflected. absorbed or transmitted. Since silicon has a

hiqh refractive index (> 3.5). over 30 % of the incident light are reflected. Therefore solar cells

are always provided with an antireflection coatiml A thi~er titanium dioxide is usual. Thus

the reflection losses for the solar s ectr to about 10%. More reduction of

the re ectlon los es can be achieved by multi-laY.l::LAR layers. A tWQ-P;ut layer from titanium

dioxide and magnesium fluori the reflection losses of .1 remainoer up to ca. 3 %.

Photons (light quanta) interact with materials m<linly by excitation of electrons. The main
-Process in the field of ener9Y. in wtm:h ~ol.,Y cells .lre applied. I', the phJtoe/fxtric .1bsofpfion.
Thereby the photon is completely ... b!.orl.icd by ol uo ,1d clcun:m. The ~Icctrcn takes the entire
energy of the photon and becomes free-electron. However, In semiconductors a photon can be
only apsorbed if its energy is larger than the bendg~hotons with energies smaller than the
.. banagap pass through the semkondii<tor dnd (annot comribute to ,m f'nerytccnversion.

H,Never. photons with much larger energies than the bandgap are also lost for the energy

conversion since the surplus energy is fast givl1 "WilY D.5 heat to the crystai lattice.

During the interaction 01 the normal solar spectru61 With il .silicoll solar cel/. .,bout 60 % of the

energy for a transforntationare lost beCiltISe many of the photons pOS.H~.'i.5 energies, which are

smaller or larger than the bandgap.

3.4.2 Recombination of charge carriers

The absorption of light produces pairs of elecuons. The .concentration of charge carriers is

therefore higher during the lighting than in the darl<. If the light is <.wltched off. the charge

carriers return to their equilibrium concentration in the dark. The rNurn process is called

rl'rombination and is the reverse process for generation by light absorption. Recombination i .

occurs even naturally also already during the generation. The charge-carrier concentration i

appearing with lighting is the result from two opposit.: runnin~J processes.

During their lifetimes the charge C<lrriNS can. travel .1 ceitam distance in the crystal until they

recombi!:!..::..ihe avera e distance, which a charJ~ carrier can travei between the place of its

origin and
.>: __
the place of its recomb.l!;1ation,
I:; C(l led dd/usion len2th.
This quantity pays an

.. _

important role for the behavior of a solar tell (11. It df:p~nds on diffUSIOn coefficient of a_

material and a iifetime of a charge carner (tilm~ thilt it tui,es for il ch,vge carrier to be captured

according-to recombination) [4].

OG491- SE.! !iH 'lu'


-"-":"'''-0'-05-- Diffusion current

- - - -....- Fioid Currotll
- - - -...- UilfusioH c.urront
... F iold CUTrOIiI

oloctrons halos

olectrical charges

n-roglon: p-n junction I p-roglon )(

I spaco-chargo .. I
z.ono .

Figure 3-3: Charge carrier distribution ar p-njtJnct; currents through the junction {I}
This electrosta,tic field extending over the boundary surface refers to the potentiill difference,
Va. which is called diffusion voltafl:i; It is :.ituated in the ~:de~,~~ magnitude ::.,f 0.8 e~. ;rhis
'@H!Cmcai held ca' e.uhe separation of the (harf .::. c'lrrjel~p.J..9duc.e..q Q.yJi.9~e ~QIill:.S.el.!:
Within t e region of the stationary electrir~,l! positive ,me! negative ch.:lrge. In t e so-ca e
5Pace-cb4l~one. a lackof mobi~
- - ch;;ge
carrier's- appear~-:wh,ch-i~;~ verihigh il)lpecr5nce~.
- -- - --- -,.. ..

Applying the n-region with a negative voltage (forward bias) reduces the diffusion voltage.
-~ - -
dt,.:reaseSthe electrical field strength and thus the field current::.. These -do not compensate
now the diffusion currents of the electrons and holes. as without external voltage, anymore. As
a il net diffusion current.fromelecuoa.s,.andJ:loJ~fJows through the p-n junction. If the
applied voltage isequa\ to th~ diffUSion voltilge: then.u.e fieldc_urre_n~s disappear- and the
current is limited only by the bulk resistors. Contrariiy. an applied posihve volt;)ge at the
out~ide n-region (reverse bias) adds itself to the diffUSion voltage. increases the space-chdrge
zone, thus it comes to outweighing the field current. The res;ulting current whose directiol1 of
the reverse bias is contrary is very small.

The m othe mat;:7',:th'~'- :'~:~u (*)'~el

n JU ['co',:: ]'''' 'U~C eq n,\l, un (3 _ I)

where: diode current [AJ

magnitude of the electron charge [1 ,6 . 10 -19 As} , i
apP:IE:cl vQl:agc:: [V]:

Oil49- S61 _ 6201

'INN( .\I'nl ~ kas .,I.d./r
f\M) \TIY1 --- ele.c:.ism\.. ~k
L!>1-.-LAr L; ... ,.~ -ekc~-\.vQ\LJ)(AtP

r\\(' ~~~
'-4~.\\"" O,.JV.JA~ / ~~ c;;v..... T

Solar cells under incident light

Figure 3-4 shows the three main parts of a solar cell schem,ltically: the diffused strong n

doped emitter, the space-charge zone and the p-doped base.

!>olar radiation

. g::j. .......- emitter, n-type

- .-
+ 1+

.,., ."

01.,,; electric fiold
hole electron
A base, p-typo


Figure 3-4: Operating-principle of a ;,olar cell (schematic) flj

A photon with sufficient large energy falls on the surface of the solar cell, penetrates emitters
. _.-----------
and space-charge zone and is absorbt>d in (h~ p-bas(;'. An electron-holE2 is developed due
to the absorption. '

Since electrons are in the minority in the p .. b,IS!;:, ont~ cal!s them minority charge G\rrier
contrary to the holes. which are majority char~;.! carrier here. TI1i5 electron diffw.cs in the I?

base until it arrives at the boundary of the spac..: -charge zone. The existing strong electrical

field in the space-charge zone accelerates the eler:tron and brings it to the emitter side.

~us a separation of the charge carriers took plLlce. Thereby the electrical field work:> ,15

separation medium. A prerequisite is that the diffusion length of the electron lidS to be large

"'enough so that Ihe elen't'on can arrive up to ii,e space-:cilarge zone, In case of too small

diffUSIon length a recombination

. '
would occur before. reaching the space-charge zone, the

energy would be los t.

Absorption of a light quantum il1 the emitter le.1ds ,1g,1/n to the form.1tion of an electron-hole
pair. According to thestrongly dop{~d l1-emltter rIle holes ate here the minority charge carrier.
With sufficient large diffusion leI/9th tilt! /Jole read/I!s the edge of lilt! space-ch.lIge zone, is
accc/erated by the electric field ,wd IS IN ,}(Ighl 10 tile p-IJ.ISt! side. '(tilt! ilbsolptivl/ occlirs 111
the space-charge zone, electrons ,wd h,')It'~ .1rt~ 1I:1111edldtciv SCIXlI,lted .lccording to the
exL<;ting electrical field there.

J 1/1 (VI/sequence af'the incident lif/Ill it )ie/cis: It' ('Oi) celltratio/1 of electrons at the f1-emitter side
is increased, conGentration ofhole5 ill the p-~bdse Side fncreJscs. An electrical voltage i5 built

up. if n-emitter and p-bast' (1re galvdl7lca/lv CiJlJnected, e,g. bY.117 ohmic n'sistor, electrons
--rroin the emitter flows through the qalv,7I1ic COI1/1tictiOn to the b:ise ,7I1d recombines 11 ith tl1~

..... - - - - > If;

0049 ~61 1041l01
WtItW ... "t*bull.d.Jr.



holes there. Current flow means however poliver output This current flow continues so long as
the incident fight radiation is available. As a result, light r.7diation is immedic7tely converted into
electricity ['
3.5 Theoretical Description of the Solar Cell
As already ment,ioned, illuminated ~olar c!!l1 creates frec Churge calficr~. which allow current to
flow through a connected load. The number of free chargc carriers is proportion.:!1 to the
incident radiation intensity. So does also the photocurrent (Jpl,) , which is internally generated in
the solar cell. Therefore an ideal solar cell can be repr;.esented by the following simplified
ell'Jivalent circuit (Fig. 3-5). It consists of the diode created by the p-n Junction_al]!ta

p,hotocurrent source wi~h themagnitude of the current de ~~din:io on the rad~ti~~.,in.tensit~. An '"

IS connected
to the
- .
solar cell as .) 10<1d,

The mathematical process of an ideill exposed 50lc11 eel,l lead~ to the foliowI1l0 equation';


I"" - IDc I ,."' - I If


t''' - I
I (3 -2)
t, }


Figure 3 - 5: Equivalent circuit diagram of an ideal sol,1r cell connected to load

In an imaginary experiment, the I-V characteristic curve for a certain inCident radiation will now
be constructed, point for point (Fig. 3-6);

~. t '2. t...p~ t.O

':t ~ _6TJ~ Y' ~ "~ \PC. \~v'V\

-37-~~ ~ RL,
~ I fiO..', ISo" 104 laO'
www.u"l .. kuIt'Lth/r.

PhoIo Currenl - - Dlodc-Currenl

C 2.00



0.00 +--_-.. . .- ....

0.00 0.05 0.10
-_-......,r--_-.. . . .
0.15 0.20 0.25 0.30 (' 0.40 0.45 0.50 0.55 0.60 0.65 0.70
Volta!; : [VI

/ Construction of the solilt cell (.urve frolll the (/iock curve

Vigure 3-6:

..... '


R . -
,,,at' - ()

Figure 3-1: Equivalent circuit diagram of the solar cell - short-circuit current

When the terminals are short-circuited (Rloild = OJ (Fig. 3-7), the output voltage and thus also
the voltage across the diode is zero. Accordttig to (3-2):-since v= 0, no current 10 flows (point
1 In Figure 3-6) therefore the entire photocurrent Iph'generated from the radiation flows to the
output. Thu's the cell current has its rnaximuITI at this point with th'e valu~' Iccll and re,fers to the
so-called short-circuit current Is<.


b~ CAL1'~h ~/ ..' vzJJ/.'.

~c:- T.. Ph -2-<[.CJ.{_3S_ 004t- 56 I 104 6101

_ I-lw..l.dt/..
V E R S I T 'A' T

If the load resistance is now continually increased, the ~olar cell volt.)ge .lIsa increases whereas

the current remains constant. Up to il certain voltage value the current flowm~r through the \

internal diode remains negligible, thus the output current contmues corresponding to tbe

photocurrent (point 2 in Figure 3-6).

Until the diode voltage threshold is exceeded after the load resist.1l1cc is further increased, a
rapidly increasing proportion of the photocurrent flows through the diode. This current leads to
power loss in the internal diode corresponding to an area between the 'photocurrent curve and
the cell current curve. Since the sum of the load current and the diode current must be equal to
the constant photocurrent, the output current decreases by exactly this amount (point 3 in
Figure 3-6).

FC'Ir an infinitely large load resistance lopen CllHllt) <l~ shown ill Figure 3-8, the output current
is then zero (lcell '"" 0) and thu~ the entire pho,ocull!?nt flows throuqh the iiiThrnal diode (point 4
"in Figure 3-6). The open-circuit volt.19t:' 1'-;" can be therefore derived .JJlain from (3-2). ...

kT (/ 'I
. III !./:" 1 / : (3 -1)
(/ t I ) ,
'- I,


V tiC R 11/1111 =zoe

,.. J~~:
- <t.[)


I..Fl-ig-U-r-e-.,-"--S-:--,-q-u-,-v.-C1-'e-n-t-c-;-rC-l.I-i-t-d-;a'-g-r-a-n-,-0-'-'r-h-e-s-o-I.-a/--c-e'-'-'--'-Jp-'e-,-,--c~.I-rc-u-,~t-v-o-'t-.1-g~e~~----' -~':. r.~
In dddition, typical value of the open-circuit voltage !5 iOGlted ca. 0.5 0.6 V for crystalline I .
cells and 0.6 - 0.9 V for amorphous cells. ' " \ ~ \.if ~.~
- '7}vZ--- \k
From this experiment it becomes obvious that the char<iCten5tic curv(,: for a :,ol.1r generator is 1 ttn
equivalent to an "inverted" diode characteristic curve, whi<;h i~ ~hifted upward by an offset eaual .
to the photocurrent (= short-circuit cu rrellt):

Since electric power is the product of current and voltage, therefore a curve: of the power

delivered by a solar cell can be obtained for a uiven ra(liatio,ll !eve! (Fi9. 3-9).

00.9- ,6. &046101


4.00 ~:;:;;:::::::::::.:::::::.:::.::.:..:;.:..::.;-.::.------...:.... _ _ _ _ _-..:...._...:...,:.....;

Iii 2,50
c 2,00
~ 1.50

. "

0,00 '
....-----,.----..,,-.--~.-----~ .....- - I - . - - , - - - I
0.00 0.05 0,10 0,15 0,20 0.25 0.30 0.35 O,~O 0.45 0.50 o.~:; 0.00, 0,65 0,70
Voltage V [V)
Figure 3-9: Power curve and maximum power point (.14PP) (SOIlP, !(,uselUl1lvWliyi

I Although the current has its maximum <It the 5hon-circuit po 11'1 t. the voltage
the power is also zero, The ~ituation for current <lnd volt<lge is reversed at the open-c(rcuit
IS zero and thus

point. so again the power here is zero, In between, there is one pilrticular combination of

I \
current Lind voltage. for which the power rC~lche~ d "ill<"lxirnum (graphiGllty indic,lted with an
"'rectangle area in Figure 3 -9). The so-cc:lllcd maXJ/lwtn power point (l'vtPP) represent the working
.. ' .
point, at which the solar cell can deliver maximum power for i1 9ivcn racllation intensity. It is
situated near the bend of the I V char.:lcteristic Cl~I'Ve. The correspond! n~ va:ues of VA-1M? and
lA/,ll!' can be estimated from Voc and lu <15 i allows [2]:

VMMP" (0.75 - 0.9) Voc

IMMP ... (0.85- 0.95) Isc

In additiorl. the quantity

FF (3- 5)

is called Fill FaClQr represents the measure fo, the qualit of the solar cell [41. It indicates how
ra'ftr,e- -=: c aracteristlc curve approximates to a rectangle. Normally the value for crystalline
solar cells Is about O.7-0.8~-----
---------------;~~I ....==~~
T;le maximum output power of the (ell .j'; then

VMI'I' iMI'!' (3-G)

0049- SG1 804 520 I

V E R S I T 'A' T I W7J W/'wt'"
Thus the efficiency of the solar cell, which refer:. to the ratio of the output electrical energy to

A H 1--s
the Input solar radiation (P.,,), is defined by the fol!owlftg relutlon .


V .[ FF

_0,<__.1_,_ __

-- I~i' ____

Until now the highest obtained efficiencies of the SIlicon solar cells with irradiation of J solar
spectrum.;iA=M=1=,:;:5~,j.:;:re ilPprox,,,24 ~ The efficIencies of the silicon solar cells from the line

production for terrestrial appl ications are situated between 10 and 14 ~'-6'lThe theoretical

efficiencies of the silicon solar cell is however ca, 26-i7 %. ..

"~3 6 Conditions with Real Solar Cells +e.&.O'luzJ")o.{ l \~ ~~Jiti'V\
:' "',J,1 Influence of serie;carid paraile! resistance o1s- bil-t' ~ , l> ;:;_c::;t;
With regard to the behaviour of a real solar cell, twOlParasitic resistances InSide the cell, ~amely
a series- (Rs) and paraliel resistance (Rp ), are taken into consideriltion fOI rnore exact
description as indicated in the equiv.llcnt circuit cw.J'gram in FilJure 3 -10,
=11 _'s;;z' ~ _ __

Int'll 1'_1

Rs ~fQ~~1'
wI- p~~,
Np VIlIiIIl R,ttUllI

Figure 3 -10: Equivalent circuit diagram of a rf!c11 solar cell (I j


The sene ... re!>istance arises from the bulk re!.i!.t<lllCe of the <;ill(on wafer, the re!>istance of the
9letalhc contacts of the front- am'; I;:"k ',Urfa(:~ind further cir~u'~5i:;tilr~'"::'ce-',;""-"7fr""'o=ri"-::;-=====
' - - - - - . - . - -.............. - - - --- 'M' ;;=;:

con ctions and terminals. The parallel

~,-' "-" ,-
" """
i~ mainly
- ' " ' ' ,-< - -
caused by !cilkaqe currf'nts due to
~-, - _ - '--:;".--~ ....

,&;-9Al~ct.!. 2,non-1 ca!!!2 and irnp'Jli~~:'=:~_!.~~2~tioll"~:!r;j~~;~.t:;~~,:l~e~ tiili ~)hortin';) of the

JunctIon, Pc1l'tlcularly ncar the cell cagcs. - .' . '

0049.. 561 5046l0l
W'IA"W,Ul'\i k.Utl.dt/u

~-,- -' .--~-----

..... -.-.....
~ ..


0.001 Ohm - 0,015 Ohm -,- 0.050 Ohm .....- 0,100 Ohm ' -:.~O~-~h:'1
''''''_'' ,_,_, ...'..-". _____,_.,__
' _J



-C 2,0!)

(,) 1.00



0,00 +--..,---.--......---.--.---.,....-...--..,...--,---r---.--""!---.,.---i
0,00 0,05 0.10 0,15 0,20 0,25 0.30 (J.~5 0,40 0,4'; O.~(j 0,55 O,GO D.G5 0,70
Voltage V LVI

Figure 3-11: '~Vcllrve for different sl'Iies n',~i.5/;/I/C(''<; """,,,. A""dfllltl'r''''li

,' 500 Ohm '" 5.00 Ohm """0,50 Ohm -0,200Ilm -0.100h,"
I,-,...-. -.-------.-----~-.--- ... ~." ..



.... 2,50
C 2,00

1.50 --~ .. -~ .. -,,-,
\ '


0,00 +--...---..--......-__.--.---.,....--'>r--.......--,---T---.--.--.,.---l
0,00 0,05 0,10 0,15 9,20 0.l5 9.30 0.3~ OAO
'Vplt(lgnV M
Figure 3 -/2: 1- V curve for diffelent p,1r<Jllel rcsistallces ,.1',,,,,,,: K........, UIII>",,,,yl
"D. 1I,nly lar~er series resistances reduce also ,horHircuit o"'en' ",'hereas very small parallel,} ,h.
. "q5J
resistances reduce the open-circuit voltage. However, their influence reduces primJrily the
." .,' ~-
( . -" ' ,

_ ~f~"~' " r),~ h~.~'- . ".
Jl:liq,~O:"':: ..),''''...'il

'It.. +<t~&
0049- Ul "" Ii~Ol
WWWAtftt.. u,..Ld./n

'1 'l 1: ,... 1.:0 e -, 0

CtlJ...( Ph r-r
v E R S I T 'P; T

varue of the Fill factor (Fig. 3-11, Fig. 3-12) As a rf!st..:lt, the m,Plirnurn power outP'Jt is
,...,) / ....,

S of losses fin solar cells

J\ Ran of the incident light is reflected by metal 'Jrid at the front. Additional reflection
-losses arise during r~diation tran~on M;r;1
the":ir int;the se;;~c6~ductor" material due
to different indexes of refractlon. These losses arc reduced coating thesurface with by
antireflection layer. Another PO~Sibiiity;s .1 ~tructuring-~-he cell slIrfilce. -
- - -\tI/'.JVVV~~-
~ The solar radiation is char.lctenzed by a;! spp.ctral d~trlbutlon, I.e. It contains
pM6tOMWitH extreme dif1erent~~rgle~.'
-: i.
-- %;;tt~ -... 111M III!

'., '. Photon~ vyith ..?-r'!lall"eq~rgy:,thantl:e bandgap .ar~n?tabsor.b~d c:.illL thu~re u~d.
Since the energies are not sL!l].i;;;!eDt .to ion:z~.f!j.e(tron:.;, ei~lror.-hoie nairs will not be
-. - ...<:.:.:.:.:

~of photons with lar~,n th~band9<1p":. oni':....;lrnount of energy egu<!L..!__

~bandgaifls useful.... r~.9ardl~~s oLhovy i':1I:9c..ti1e_pho~,:m ~nerJJY 1s. !

~ ...unit
of nt IOcr a ever the
andgap determines also the uppEr limit of the diffusion voltilge in the p-n junction.
ASmall band a le~ererOie to ~illl ~n-(;;uit vo~e.. S~;~ the" ele~ POWer-Is
(..t.illcd ~ prosbLCl OJ.J:.U1lenLuid..Yoka..u.e, a ve~ }!n.lH bilr;.,gap~ fl":>U!l iii ~,;all output pow~r, .
\ltd thus low efficiencies. E ~ ..
- In case of large bandgaps. the open-circuit voltage will ~~ b~h. However, only small part of the
solar spectrum will be absorbed. As iI. reslJit, t:H~ [)hc,toC:'.meflt .v:!1ICVl?S hi?rc only small values.
Again, the product of current and vo1t,.ue stay. 5110,.11.

v(ihe cu rren:.. da~k ~~~~E_g.!~ .!~il:~l!:~_l~~S.t;~l.!..:~L~:::~,~::~:I;.,~t~'~. . :~~:'..,~.I~t:.:.' ~.:.~r::~,:~._
voltage according to (3-4).
~ _ _ 'lo.ot-....._ ","~, .,,,,,,.;,."""

~Not all charge carriersproduced are colle:ctl;d, some rccorr.bme.

Charge carriers recombine prefer2.bJy <.1r ir.~llJerfections, i.e laltice dt'fect~ of crystal or
impurities. Therefore, source material must hlW i\ tligh cryslaHolJraphic quality. and
provide most purity.
likewise, the !>urface of the semiconductor r,l,nt.:':a' !;, a pIau:. II. which th,: uy>t;.! structure I:>

JJ).Serie~~ a~~~:::::w
very ~lrOll9ly disturbed, and forlll:' .1 :.'OlH~ol in(t(!.I',1I1!) l<;vHlii1:n,II;"I:.

f) 5m~!ler
The Fill factor is always th;.m ,jr~(. (tfH~or'"ticc1i max ...llue Ci\. 0.85\.

re"":I't ir. reduction of the Fill factor [1, 2,41.

" . . , ' , < ~'. 1ii m _~~(~

llL ,;,:.'".~'.,:.:.,~.; .:~:;
004g .. '561 S046.tOI
" ,<


3.7 Effect of Irradiation

According' to the relation of the photocurrent to the irradiation the short-circuit current /u is
linearly proportional to the solar radiation over a wide rang~. V 0.. ~
:::s:z ;s:s 5' 4 V G OF ZC> ,
Anyway. with regard to the explanation of the solar cell equivalent circuit and the shape of the
characteristic curve, open-circuit voltage Va" refers to the voltage across the internal diode
when the total generated photocurrent flows through it. Similarly to the solar cell characteristic
curve, the dependence of the open-circuit voltage on the radiation corresponds to an inverted
diode characteristic. When the radiation intensity is low (and thus also the photocurrent), Vo.. is
also low; however regarding (3-4) it incre~~'k;ga~ith'miZ~ITy with-inc-~ing-;;~~(Fig. 3
.",.. . . _ n< __ ' .. "_~~_.< __ .~__ /"
13). /"
.-600Wlm' -400W/rrr

I ,< ~.

~ 2.50 ..,
~ .... , ,_ ...


0.50 +....-.-."'--'--":---'------.

: ,'.
0.00 +---.--....__-..,....-..,...-....... ---r-~-___.-....,,...--r__-+_~ ..--....__-_l
0.00 0.05 0.10 0.15 0.20 0.25 0.30 0.35 GAO 0.45 0.50 0.$ 0.60 0.65 0.10

Figure 3-13: /- V characteristic curve at different irradiation lSou,u: Kmt!' Un;""mty)

e{kc:;l c{r ~~~~'10 ' r

b l)~ caJL l& ~Y'to'f1fi~~l.( .

004.... '5' .046201
U N I K.
V ER ~

."i8 Effect of Temperature ! ~

~:ce the band gap ener Yd:creases' wit n tem erature. ,!!ore photons haye!nough'
energy to cre te e ectron- 0 e paIrs. As a consequence 0 Increasing minority carrier diffdsion
~ngths the photocurrent, that is to say: the short-circuit current. is observed tolncreasb ' .
slightly. However, this is a small effect (Fig. 3-14); I ,,'

.Ise .Increases by about 0.07 ". I K


As Voccan be assumed t9"b.ealmost independent of the radiation value for the typically high,
'. int'~n;sities outdoo~s. the~':;bTtiges drop markedly'fri poorly lit indoor rooms with il')tensities of,
or.lya few W/m2. However,'according
. , to the diffusion theory of Shockley [5], If) is given by

If) ;;; 'I N . N, -"/::.:)]

c::xp ( - ( --"-+-
L [./.) (3-.9)
[ kT n"1',, 1'1'1'1'

Nv. Nc are the effective densities. of states in the valence and conduction band. the band gap
energy Eg and Ln, L", n", P", 1'n, 1'p are the diffusion lengths. the densities and the lifetimes of
~Iectrons and holes respectively_ With (3-9) we can 9btain from (3-4). assuming IpI! :;. > 10.

V"" E.kT em
= ___ . ,[--qN
N ] . ( ~+- L,. ) (3-10)
__ q . q '. II'" ". " nil 1',. ppr:1'

Therefore V.... is strongly temperature-dependent (Fig. 3-14): '* l:t

VOC'slnk$ by about 0.4 % / K


-.cThi~hould also be-<onsidered d~ring-thedesignpha'Seassolar-cettslnSta1teOoUfaooiScan

. ieach temperatures depending on the installation (ventilation), which are up to,40 ~ higher th,an
the ambient temperature.
- . . . '"
Since the cell voltage and current depend on the temperature, the supplied electric power (.9
a: ') varies with the temperature:

n.: .: : : -;.: : ; ;

tOO., ' " ' " ~Ol

J www.unl"WJeLftJN

U'C '-7S'C' '-lOO'C I



.... 2.50
o 1,50



0.00 +-.;..,.-r---..---r---..--.---.--..,.--.,...-r---.,L-......--,.....;.-,---{
0.00 9-05 fpO 0.15., 0.20 0.25' 0.30 0.35 0...0 r 0<15 0.50 0.55 0.60 0.65 0.70 r(J1)O" vJ("",'v
'. . / ',> V.O!tag~V M '. ' " . 0 '
,/'figure 3-14.: ,'-V charac~e;istic curve at different t~mp;~ature (sO~r:~:KiU~~/unlvflrs~ty) 1.5(.
T!.~rated power of a solar cell or a module is basically reported in "peak watts" IWp] and
.a t'G 1\11
measured under internationally specified test conditions, namel'LStdnddrd Test Conditions
(STC). refers to global radiation 1000 W/m 2 incident perpendicularly on the cell or the
module. cell temperature 25 'C and AM,1.5 The t;rm "peak power" is misleading as, e.g. at
rower cell temperatures or higher rad~atl_on intensities. this value can be exceeded.

3.9 From Single Cells to PV Arrays: >

Solar cells are rarely used individually,' Rirther~"celtsewith'similar characteristics are connected
and encapsulated to form modules in order t~ obtain' higt)~r power values. These modules are
then in turn combined to construct arrays. PVarrays for a diversitY of applications can be---~"
constructed according to this principle in the power range from ~W to MW.

j.9.1 Parallel connection '" .', . .; ~;

, If higher current is required in a system. solar cells are connected in parallel as~lIustrated,in
Figure 3-15.
- /"


U. N K A S ~ L

11'1' /10':'1


II'U 101

VOl J'j)l '11.1 V"...I N IO~1I1

Figure 3-lS: Parallel connection .of solar cells

Regarding a parallel-connected configuration the voltage across each cell 15 equal whereas tlie
total current is the sum of: all the individual cell currents. Accordingly, the currem-voltJge
characteristic curve of the complete configuration is obtained, as shown in Figure 3-16, by
a.:.:ling the single cell current values corresponding to each voltage value point for point.
I - n.... CdIo

L ---------

"'" ,
10,0 : t






VCha:~mris:c cu:: ;::::11: ~nnec';:n "O""~ ~~~"."


.yure ]-16: : <.ml <" /

The question of the system performance arises when part of a module is shJded. A-; indicated
in Figure 3-17 three identical cellsaru connected in parallel and one cell is completely shaded.
1IIt ... ch then stops generating its phC:tccurre~y"Thl:' wor st case takes plac.e Wlt!~.YI;cn-ci;':l;jt
condition, i.e. if there is no external load. Since the ,;hJded cell is coolerlh:\11 the othe, tllm

\ 'J,.

~ ....- ..

:r;:,.::..;.=.~~--:-- ',. . . ," ,..,,:.-::::-:~"-:::::'
. ",cells. the breakdown voltagof its dicde is higher according to their I-V c11ai'L\ctc(i~,t1c-cu:'vcs
~,_,(see~~~t~on)-:s.twhereas the:~olt~~:. ~c.ross all three cells is identical. the' di(;dc. curr~ntCTi.~e
shaded cell is therefore extremely sm,.\I.
'-" .
"',' - - ,- -- _. ... . -.'
>~- ~


l[ ;,:;:;~',;<~:;~;:
nNl- S'it 1.W4 ",z..)1
W\'II'IH.llnl~ 1uJ'''.4~/tt



1...--_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _-,--_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

F"ure 3-17: Partial s/7c7ding in CiHe ofparallel connectioll

.~. I . .;'.-;:!"re~~r~~onnect;o~ In- o~d~[...!!'~~ mJ!!l!!,~~,,"~IIy_ ':'.ot '"i",hl. fM nmtlloJL

. ~ iPEJication becau~l!i9_~~urrent requ!r~~.l>l9..~ross .sec~ion ()f ~.;>nductor. Besides, low voltage
causes high relative losses. For these reasons a series connection is more attractive.
,;..:-- . '" ., --" --...... _.-. ==:>

3.9.2 Series connection

In a series connection, a~ illustrated in Figure 3-19, the same current flows through :!ach cell
whereas the total voltage is the sum of the voltage across each cell.

The I-V characteristic curve of the complete configuration, as shown in Figure 3-20, is obtained
by adding the single cell voltage values corresponding to each currentvalue poin~ for point.
T"..! following characteristic curves re!;ult for J. given radiation intensity. which i$ equal fortll"'c~
of solar cells.

,. 'VJ"J} Series connection of the solar cells causes_~lJ...Y.!ld~slre~effeJ;tw.hen J

PV module is paJ:tl~_
~I'r -.!haded:..~~_ contrast witheara.llel connec~ioll. the worst case occurs in case of shortcircuit


gC-4~ SIU 404 :l~'j.
i,.. . . . ." '.. u ...I.v../.. t
\i E Il .<; I r 'f: T

r.' .



Figure J -19: Series connection ofsolar cells

- TwoCelis One Cell


VollageV M ,,;'.

Figure 3-20: I-V characteristic curve for series connection 1501//(e; A,HJ.IlI"jvmityl

rl/:). ,.
t ';.tr'"''' ,. ""~'-".-.
Jf l-:~io<r3k ;.I'!I'~"'" '~~'lI1Jt
004"- \C,! '~4 ~~~1
v</~Ek~~ UNIKASSI::L

.. '
In case of complete shadinv as shown In Figure 3-2 I the shaded cell generates no current and
... acts as an open-circUit and therefore no current flows in tbe circuit. Its diode tends to be
.. -~ rE'verse biased by the voltage generated from otoer two cells. However, there is no :>ow~r
---. '. ,.... dissipation to tfle Shaded cell unles~ tne breakd<?wn voltag~-ofits diode is ex

( \

Figure 3-21: Series connection - one cell is completely shaded.

Due to the fact that there is no current flowing in the circuit, the output POWN in this GtSO is
also zero. One solu'tion to this problem Is Eo conmretbw8SS diOde anti-pilr~lIel to the c~ili.(t:g. _
- . , - .. "".,. _. - ~ ___ - _. d'_'

"_.1:/ 3-~~)_so th~~rger volt~_e3i~t,~~:~~~~_'~n~ot arise in the ~~~rse-current ~~c~ion of ~,

A solar cells. Under normal conditions such as wlth-no'shadlng eaCh bypass diode IS reverse
b"iaSeaTn'd each cell gene(ates power, As shown in-Figure 3-22. when the third cell is shaded,- -
its bypass diode is forward biased and conducts the circuit current.

Regarding the I-V characteristic curve of the PVarrayin case of shading by assumillg that the
load is adjusted from infinity (open -circuit) tozero (short-circuit), the result is shown in Figure
3 -:!3. Under opeo:::cirC\.ltt condition no current flows through the cir,uit~~Q_there is no voltage
across the third cell. Whe~ the'loadis smalle-r than infinity, the load voltage i~;manerth~
--open--cin::'uit-voitige and the voltage acrdss the third cell increases fro~1 zero. its byp,\ss diad.::
is therefore forward!> biscd ,md will conduct the circ.Jil Current as soon as its threshold voita~j<:
is reached. Afterwards. the charactl!ri:.tic corresponds to the curve of two c!~II!> conm!cwd in


Cti4~1"' s,;:t :C.4 ~;o=
Yo\,w.l.in1-~u;;tJ ;.i.l/fJ

, -J ,
;I} . - ..... t',;;'''::'''; ".:. ,,- ~', ',-,~' ~:: .,..,:-...._~."



Figure 3-22: Series connection with bypass diodes - one cell is completely sh.;1ded.
r------------------- ----- ---,----'
... 'Twoeella O.... Ce. ShlKllI\lI with bypass

/ Figure 3-23: /- V chdracteristic curve for series, connection - one cell is completely slladf:d

/l t;) '" ,
r'l'''''' , ,
;;.~ f("," .........
*"rt'I ..-.UIt'WfOg
-s 1
00"- SOl ."" nOI
V E P. S I T '/J,' T

Incase that the third cell is partly shaded Fig. 3-24). e.g, 20 % irradiation incident on the cell
.19. 3-24), it can produce. :tpprOl~~-'2C %'0 th:~ photocurrent produced by the'other two callt
(see section 3-7). Re.gardingse.ries connection, altho\.l h theothe.r two cells can produce their.
100 % photocurrents. t e amount of current flowi'ng in the circuit can only equal the amount of
the current produced by the third cell (Fig. 3-26}.'Tlle rest of the current' produced b the firllt
."'::c~twtfl floW into its own diode (this i~ also i.ipplie to t e second cell). In addition. the diode of
-,tHe thIrd cell is reverse biaseJ by the voltage generated by the other two cells. Therefore. power
.. (ltss,pabon to tt\e.... third cell arises.
~ , , ,




I "'"

' ..... r'


Figure 3-24: Series connection - one cell is partly shaded.

Such power,dissipation refers to the so-called hotspot. an intolerable effect, which leads to
agreakdown i~the cell P-)l j'tnctfo~n'Ji1dTn-turn to destructions, i.e. cell orglass cracking or
melting of solder. H9~ever, this ~an alto happen in case of mismati::heg cells within.the-mod,ule
c:-due to manufacruring differences. degradatIOn (cracked) or even unequal illuminated cells,
which then result in different outpUl~.

A'" U,ewn
means of the bypass diodes the problems of
In FIgure 9-E. aft@r
the bypa~s tffc thll'd cond,.ggts.
cells and hotspots call be <woided.
or ceil
current flowmg . '
by the tfiira celt.
through it is equal to the different ilmount between the circuit current and the c:urrcr;tpwc:u(cd
. ..

The I-V characteristic curve of this case is indicated in Figure 3-26.

( I' '"
t. 1. '-- ". ~ ,. ~,~ -'-.. ".,

oo.!'~ ~t.ll Ul)4 (,';Oi

.,"I'I'\'I''1 df!j;u
V E R S I T"A" T

-- ... I
'",'111 ""',i."'!1 J
], I,

-- BYll"SS

it}.. Diode

Figure 3-25: Series cOI1I1~aion with bypassdiQdes- one u:,l! is part!y shaded



C 6,0

Vol tag, V tV]

Figure 3-26: f- V c/1<1racterislic curve for scri,:5 connectiof} - Otlr; cel! IS panlv ,shaded

M',,\!<, st.! a'H "Z(lt

"........."u,,'!o: .. H,,',kJ,(,

e connec on. ox y t e manu acturer.
up) - .
..Jlt should b~ noted that the bypass diodes' do not cause any losses while current does not flow
~ through them in normal operation. In addition to prote<,:ting the shaded module. the bypass
~!iode also allows current to flow through the PV array when it is partly shaded even if at a
,jruuced voltage and power. .

The effect of partial shading and the role. of bypass diode can be more indicated here in Figure
3-27 and 3-28.

4.00~,;,;:;;;~;;;:;;,;;;...;..--,;"",----=~-=--~"";;n",;,,;;,.......-----,,,;,,--"; ao

3,50 70

3,00 60

i 2.50 sq ~
~ 2,00 ... 40 ...
() 1.S0 30 a.

1.00 20

0.50 10

0.00 """"""""""""""-"-r"""',I-l C
0.0 2,0 4.0 6.0 8.0 10,0 12.G 14.0 16.0 18,0 20,0 22,0
Voltage V [V]

Fif7ure 3-27: Power curve ofa module under irradi.7tion 1000 VIm'

Under normal condition a module has a power curve indicated in Figure 3-27. However,
shading affects the curve by drastically reducing the power output of the module considerably
as obviously seen in Figure 3-28.

As already states, for series connection, the worst module determines ,the quality of the whol~
configuration. For these reasons, modules With different types of solar cells or fronl different
manufacturers should never be connected to each other. In a larger system it could be weil
worthwhile to ensure that all the modules originate from a singe production run. BeSides, not
IF?, , .
_all commercial modules include bypass diodes. Therefore, case must be taken to avoid even
light shadows. e.g. from cables, mounting wire, tree tops, surrounding structure or adjacent
.. arrays [2].

.:s 4
G(1"'S- ~61 8U4 :"2Q1

Current Wltl:~~ypasa ----c:~~lItWlth bYP<lu
~~~____________~~~~____~~______________________~ noJ
- Power with lJypa~"--l

3.50 70


2,50 50
~ !

2.00 40 ...

1,50 30

1,00 20


'M--r;;,-:.......,"-..-;.;-..- .....,-,,.;;o;-.....-;.,.......__.,.....--.-..,....;t-.........-~ It
2,0 4.D G,O 8.D W.O 12.0 14.<1 \(i.O 18,0 20,0 22.0
Voltage V [V}

Figure 3-28: Power curves with p.lrtla! shading (S_"" .:'. .. ~IU..iw".fl,.,

As an example of shading, a cigarette vending machine powered by solar energy is presented in

Figure 3-29.

Cigarette vending macfline shaded by Slll1Sh.1de O(d shop;

Friedrich-Ebert 5tr. corner Goethe Str., Kassel (1'/1",,, A',I""llImv"""11

I. zZ~:::.::.;'.:,:;::;:~:
ON9~ sr.; 8M .ll1.)l
'1i!:J."W.I.HI1 ,1t!tl{.~I,d~tr.


According to Figure 3-29, with ~n 1Jn!.uitable moumin!) the PV modlile in'.ti,lINI on the top of
the m~chlne stays under sh.ldow of the shop's sunshade duringthc: d.IY. Funherm(>rt~. tha PV
module faces dirt as well (Fig, 3-30). However, this module)!. little over-dimensioned according
tq."a small different of prices and the machine needs only !>m.lll power fOf Its required function.

Figure 3-30: PV module of the cigarette vending machine Ii'lto'" I(.wel (I"iv~lJItyl

Another example of shaciing, which tokes place oftellwlth PV IllodLdes. is due to birds'
droppings when they settle on the upper edge (If the 11lodule (Fig. 3-31), A solution in order to
prevent settling of birds. a strip of needles can be lr'o!)nted along the upper edge of the

Figure 3-31: Dirt on the PV module due to birds droppings supply for.1 gl.1ss showcase

at Kilrlspl"tz. K,1ssel,I'''.. to: A...."J I If.,,,,,,,..,

OII~'- 561 eo46201