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The Influence of Spectral Albedo on Bifacial Solar Cells: A Theoretical and Experimental Study

Russell, Thomas C. R. and Saive, Rebecca and Augusto, André and Bowden, Stuart G. and Atwater, Harry A. (2017) The Influence of Spectral Albedo on Bifacial Solar Cells: A Theoretical and Experimental Study. IEEE Journal of Photovoltaics, 7 (6). pp. 1611-1618. ISSN 2156-3381. doi:10.1109/JPHOTOV.2017.2756068.

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We have investigated the influence of the spectral albedo on the power output of bifacial solar cells. We adapted the Shockley–Queisser radiative flux balance framework to account for a variation of the spectrum and intensity of the incoming light. We find that the ideal band gap and the maximum efficiency depend on the spectral albedo of the surroundings and that optimal cell performance cannot be assessed when only accounting for a spectrally independent albedo. With a spectral albedo model, we predict that the power output for a bifacial silicon solar cell surrounded by green grass is 3.1% higher than for a wavelength-independent albedo, and even 5.2% higher for white sand. We experimentally verify this trend for silicon heterojunction solar cells and we derive the ideal spectral albedo.

Item Type:Article
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URLURL TypeDescription
Saive, Rebecca0000-0001-7420-9155
Atwater, Harry A.0000-0001-9435-0201
Additional Information:© 2017 IEEE. Open Access. Manuscript received May 16, 2017; revised July 25, 2017 and August 24, 2017; accepted September 15, 2017. This work was supported in part by the Engineering Research Center Program of the National Science Foundation and the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy of the Department of Energy under NSF Cooperative Agreement No. EEC-1041895 and in part by the U.S. Department of Energy through the Bay Area Photovoltaic Consortium under Award Number DE-EE0004946. The work of R. Saive was supported by the Global Climate & Energy project. (Thomas C. R. Russell and Rebecca Saive contributed equally to this work.) The authors would like to thank P. Jahelka and S. Yalamanchili.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Department of Energy (DOE)DE-EE0004946
Global Climate and Energy Project (GCEP)UNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:Bifacial solar cells, Shockley–Queisser limit, spectral albedo, thermodynamic efficiency limit
Issue or Number:6
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20171013-085409502
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Official Citation:T. C. R. Russell, R. Saive, A. Augusto, S. G. Bowden and H. A. Atwater, "The Influence of Spectral Albedo on Bifacial Solar Cells: A Theoretical and Experimental Study," in IEEE Journal of Photovoltaics, vol. 7, no. 6, pp. 1611-1618, Nov. 2017. doi: 10.1109/JPHOTOV.2017.2756068. URL:
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:82337
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:17 Oct 2017 18:06
Last Modified:15 Nov 2021 19:49

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