Olivia Lam – Research on Capitol Hill 2021

(Mentor: Heayoung Yoon)

As the global population increases, the development for renewable energy becomes crucial to produce sustainable electricity for our society. Thin-film solar cells are the most cost-effective photovoltaic (PV) technology on the market today. However, the power conversion efficiencies of such solar cells are still well below (< 22 % for CdTe, for example) than their theoretical maximum values (about 30 %). In this work, we perform PV characterizations of thin-film solar cells to gain better understanding of device performances. We use a solar simulator in an inverted configuration with a customized PV apparatus that can block surrounding light not coming directly from the sun simulator. This ensures that the measurements taken are more accurate. We designed and fabricated a prototype dark box with dimensions approximately of 22 cm x 17 cm x 14 cm. We show the effectiveness of the customized PV apparatus using thin-film CdTe solar cells. We will discuss on-going progress of another PV apparatus that can control environmental parameters, including moisture and temperature, for sensitivity thin-film solar cells (e.g., perovskite PVs). Our efforts on the development of customized PV apparatus using 3D printer will provide to high-quality datasets to gain a better understanding of thin-film solar cells.

House Representative:
Casey Snider
Senate Representative: Scott D. Sandall