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Quantum Material Achieves Up to 190% Efficiency in Solar Cells

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Quantum Material Achieves Up to 190% Efficiency in Solar Cells


Quantum Material Achieves Up to 190% Efficiency in Solar Cells

by Clarence Oxford

Los Angeles CA (SPX) Apr 11, 2024






Researchers from Lehigh University have developed a material that significantly enhances the efficiency of solar panels.

A prototype incorporating this material as the active layer in a solar cell displays an average photovoltaic absorption rate of 80%, a high rate of photoexcited carrier generation, and an external quantum efficiency (EQE) reaching up to 190%. This figure surpasses the theoretical Shockley-Queisser efficiency limit for silicon-based materials, advancing the field of quantum materials for photovoltaics.



This work signifies a major advance in sustainable energy solutions, according to Chinedu Ekuma, professor of physics at Lehigh. He and Lehigh doctoral student Srihari Kastuar recently published their findings in the journal Science Advances. Ekuma highlighted the innovative approaches that could soon redefine solar energy efficiency and accessibility.



The material’s significant efficiency improvement is largely due to its unique intermediate band states, which are energy levels within the material’s electronic structure that are ideally positioned for solar energy conversion.



These states have energy levels in the optimal subband gaps-energy ranges capable of efficiently absorbing sunlight and producing charge carriers-between 0.78 and 1.26 electron volts.



Moreover, the material excels in absorbing high levels in the infrared and visible regions of the electromagnetic spectrum.



In traditional solar cells, the maximum EQE is 100%, which corresponds to the generation and collection of one electron for each photon absorbed. However, newer materials and configurations can generate and collect more than one electron per high-energy photon, achieving an EQE over 100%.



Multiple Exciton Generation (MEG) materials, though not yet widely commercialized, show immense potential for enhancing solar power system efficiency. The Lehigh-developed material utilizes intermediate band states to capture photon energy typically lost in traditional cells, including energy lost through reflection and heat production.



The research team created this novel material using van der Waals gaps, atomically small spaces between layered two-dimensional materials, to confine molecules or ions. Specifically, they inserted zerovalent copper atoms between layers of germanium selenide (GeSe) and tin sulfide (SnS).



Ekuma developed the prototype based on extensive computer modeling that indicated the system’s theoretical potential. Its rapid response and enhanced efficiency strongly indicate the potential of Cu-intercalated GeSe/SnS as a quantum material for advanced photovoltaic applications, offering a path for efficiency improvements in solar energy conversion, he stated.



While the integration of this quantum material into existing solar energy systems requires further research, the techniques used to create these materials are already highly advanced, with scientists mastering precise methods for inserting atoms, ions, and molecules.



Research Report:Chemically Tuned Intermediate Band States in Atomically Thin CuxGeSe/SnS Quantum Material for Photovoltaic Applications


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SCE Provides Quarterly Updates on Interconnection Capacity Analysis Improvements

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SCE Provides Quarterly Updates on Interconnection Capacity Analysis Improvements


SCE Provides Quarterly Updates on Interconnection Capacity Analysis Improvements

by Brad Bartz

Los Angeles CA (SPX) May 30, 2024






Southern California Edison (SCE) has initiated quarterly status updates to address issues related to the use of Integration Capacity Analysis (ICA) in processing Rule 21 interconnection requests. This comes as a response to concerns raised during the March 5, 2024, Interconnection Discussion Forum. The first report, submitted to the CPUC and various service lists, details SCE’s ongoing efforts to improve ICA processes.

In a proactive move, Southern California Edison (SCE) has begun issuing quarterly updates to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) and related stakeholders on the status of their efforts to address challenges associated with Integration Capacity Analysis (ICA) used in Rule 21 interconnection requests. This initiative follows queries raised during the Interconnection Discussion Forum held on March 5, 2024.



The first of these updates, provided voluntarily by SCE, outlines significant steps being taken to refine ICA processes. This report, dated May 24, 2024, was circulated to the Energy Division and the service lists of R.14-08-013, R.17-07-007, R.19-09-009, and R.21-06-017, ensuring transparency and open communication with all concerned parties.



The quarterly report highlights several key areas of focus, including:



Enhanced Data Accuracy: SCE is working to improve the precision of data used in ICA, ensuring that interconnection requests are processed based on the most reliable information available.



Stakeholder Engagement: Regular meetings and discussions with stakeholders are being held to address any concerns and gather feedback on proposed improvements.



Technological Upgrades: Investments in technology to streamline and expedite the ICA process, reducing wait times for interconnection approvals.



Policy Adjustments: Revisions to internal policies and procedures to better align with stakeholder expectations and regulatory requirements.



SCE’s commitment to providing these updates underscores their dedication to resolving ICA-related issues and facilitating a smoother interconnection process for renewable energy projects. Stakeholders are encouraged to reach out with any questions or requests for further information, highlighting the open-door policy SCE has adopted for this initiative.



Factual Background:



Who: Southern California Edison (SCE)

What: Quarterly status updates on ICA improvements for Rule 21 interconnection requests.

When: First report issued on May 24, 2024.



Bradley Bartz, founder of ABC Solar Incorporated, is a dedicated advocate at the CPUC, receiving numerous filings daily from various stakeholders. The “Today at the CPUC” series aims to provide the solar advocacy community with concise and relevant updates on critical CPUC developments.



CONTACT: [email protected]


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Upcoming Workshop to Address Net Billing Tariff and Net Energy Metering

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Upcoming Workshop to Address Net Billing Tariff and Net Energy Metering


Upcoming Workshop to Address Net Billing Tariff and Net Energy Metering

by Brad Bartz

Los Angeles CA (SPX) May 30, 2024








A crucial workshop hosted by San Diego Gas and Electric (SDG&E), Southern California Edison (SCE), and Pacific Gas and Electric (PG and E) will take place on June 5, 2024, from 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM. This workshop aims to gather feedback from stakeholders on Net Energy Metering (NEM) and Net Billing Tariff (NBT) bills. The workshop is part of the ongoing efforts to refine and implement policies following Decision 23-11-068.

On June 5, 2024, from 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM, major California utilities-San Diego Gas and Electric (SDG&E), Southern California Edison (SCE), and Pacific Gas and Electric (PG and E)-will conduct a workshop focused on the Net Billing Tariff (NBT) and Net Energy Metering (NEM) programs. This workshop, mandated by Ordering Paragraph 16 of CPUC Decision 23-11-068, is designed to solicit input from stakeholders and address concerns related to these critical tariffs.



The workshop is a continuation of the CPUC’s efforts to adjust the NEM framework, which has significant implications for solar energy customers and the broader renewable energy landscape in California. The NBT, established as a successor to the NEM 2.0 tariff, introduces new compensation rates based on the Avoided Cost Calculator (ACC), which generally offers lower rates than the previous retail compensation model. This change aims to address perceived cost shifts from NEM customers to non-participating ratepayers but has been met with concerns from the solar industry about its impact on the adoption of rooftop solar (California Public Utilities Commission) (California Public Utilities Commission).



The new tariff structure under Decision 23-11-068 also includes provisions for virtual net energy metering (VNEM) and aggregated NEM customers, encompassing multifamily residences, agricultural customers, and large facilities such as schools. These successor tariffs are part of a broader strategy to recalibrate incentives and improve grid reliability by aligning customer compensation with the grid’s needs (JD Supra).



The upcoming workshop will be a platform for stakeholders to discuss these changes, provide feedback, and collaborate on solutions to ensure the NBT and NEM frameworks effectively support California’s clean energy goals. Specific details on how to join the workshop will be shared closer to the date.



Factual Background:



Who: San Diego Gas and Electric (SDG&E), Southern California Edison (SCE), and Pacific Gas and Electric (PG and E)

What: Workshop to solicit feedback on NEM and NBT bills

When: June 5, 2024, 1:00 PM – 4:00 PM



Bradley Bartz, founder of ABC Solar Incorporated, is a dedicated advocate at the CPUC, receiving numerous filings daily from various stakeholders. The “Today at the CPUC” series aims to provide the solar advocacy community with concise and relevant updates on critical CPUC developments.



Link to the Solar Bible GPT by Bradley Bartz


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Research team achieves significant solar cell efficiency milestone

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Research team achieves significant solar cell efficiency milestone


Research team achieves significant solar cell efficiency milestone

by Simon Mansfield

Sydney, Australia (SPX) May 26, 2024






A research team has created a tandem solar cell using antimony selenide as the bottom cell material and a hybrid perovskite material as the top cell, achieving over 20 percent power conversion efficiency. This advancement highlights antimony selenide’s potential for bottom cell applications.

Photovoltaic technology converts sunlight into electricity, offering a clean energy source. Scientists aim to enhance the efficiency of solar cells, achieving over 20 percent in conventional single-junction cells. Surpassing the Shockley-Queisser limit in these cells would be costly, but tandem solar cells can overcome this limit by stacking materials.



The team focused on antimony selenide for tandem cells, traditionally used in single-junction cells. “Antimony selenide is a suitable bottom cell material for tandem solar cells. However, because of the rarity of reported tandem solar cells using it as a bottom cell, little attention has been paid to its application. We assembled a tandem solar cell with high conversion efficiency using it as the bottom cell to demonstrate the potential of this material,” said Tao Chen, professor of Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Science and Technology of China.



Tandem cells absorb more sunlight than single-junction cells, converting more light into electricity. The team created perovskite/antimony selenide tandem cells with a transparent conducting electrode, optimizing the spectral response and achieving over 17 percent efficiency. By optimizing the antimony selenide bottom cell, they reached 7.58 percent efficiency.



The assembled four-terminal tandem cell achieved 20.58 percent efficiency, higher than independent subcells. The tandem cell is stable and uses nontoxic elements. “This work provides a new tandem device structure and demonstrates that antimony selenide is a promising absorber material for bottom cell applications in tandem solar cells,” said Chen.



The team aims to develop an integrated two-terminal tandem cell and further improve performance. “The high stability of antimony selenide provides great convenience for the preparation of two-terminal tandem solar cell, which means that it may have good results when paired with quite a few different types of top cell materials.”



Research Report:Sb2Se3 as a bottom cell material for efficient perovskite/Sb2Se3 tandem solar cells


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Tsinghua University

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