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Would you like solar cells with various colours?

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Posted by LU Wei on July 10, 2009, 7:30 am
  You may know that solar cells are generally blue and become black when
sealed in modules or panels. Would you like them in brown, gold, olive,
or purple? We are doing experiments on this recently and the first
results are good, esp. the gold cells are pretty with conversion
efficiency very close to normal blue cells.
  Any comment is appreciated.

LU Wei

Posted by Doc O'Leary on July 10, 2009, 3:23 pm

In general, there is always a market for variation in style, so long as
the price point can meet the demand.  I don't see why solar cells would
be any different.  In particular, I would imagine there is a
military/outdoors market for olive/brown, especially if the process
allowed you to mix the colors/cells into a reasonable camouflage.  Gold
does seem like it would have some upscale appeal for certain markets.  
Purple probably wouldn't be different enough to command any significant
price premium.  Seems like a tough nut to crack, though, because most
people seem to be mainly concerned about $/Watt.

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Posted by LU Wei on July 11, 2009, 3:32 am
 Doc O'Leary wrote on 2009-7-10 23:23:

I can imagine those cells be preferred by those who have more decorative
concerns. Military usage is not practical because they are still very
distinctive in appearance. The cell colour are uniform. We think of
mixed colours on polysilicon cell but it's not implemented yet. The
$/Watt should not be a problem, because the manufacture cost is similar.

LU Wei

Posted by coj on July 11, 2009, 12:16 pm
 LU Wei wrote:

Aren't solar cells optimised to their maximum efficiency which is
usually achieved with a blue colour on Si ?

The team at NaREC have been reporting this for a few years

For the thicker films you need to change the colour they'll need longer
in the deposition chamber (reducing throughput) and also be at lower
efficiency (the currents drop as you are increasing reflectivity) so I
would have thought the $/Wp would have to increase.


Posted by LU Wei on July 13, 2009, 12:16 pm
 coj wrote on 2009-7-11 20:16:

Here we must distinguish two different phases: cell and module. What we
have done is on the cell, throughput does decreased, though not much,
with efficiency reached 16.5%, which is close to our normal cells
(16.9%). At this phase so far so good, but when packed into module I
think the reflectivity problem will arise -- colour modules will
definitely reflect more light than black ones. Elaborate calculation and
design is needed to give a reasonable trade-off; and $/Wp would surely
increase, but we think some user may feel it worthy.

LU Wei

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