- Lead Organisation
The University of New South WalesLocation
Kensington, New South WalesARENA Program
30 November 2022
31 March 2028
- Project PartnersJinengy, DAS Solar, CSI Solar, Risen Energy, Jinko Solar, JA Solar, Jolywood, Leadmicro
The project aims to improve the efficiency of silicon solar cells through integration of a molecular singlet fission layer.
This project is funded under the ULCS PV Research and Development Round and will build on ARENA’s previous investment into solar PV that support projects aligning with ARENA’s ‘Solar 30 30 30’ target to improve module efficiency to 30 per cent and reduce total construction costs of utility scale solar farms to 30 cents per watt by 2030. Funding is being made available to focus on commercialisation prospects, which will take place after an initial R&D phase, to assist getting the new technologies into the market.
Silicon solar cells make up the majority of solar modules manufactured to date. However, the technology is nearing its theoretical performance limit. Singlet fission is a molecular process that allows one energy packet of light to be split into two, increasing the theoretical limit.
Singlet fission is known to take place in many molecular materials. However, in recent years it has been demonstrated how to transfer this energy into a silicon semiconductor. This breakthrough has shown to both passivate the silicon surface and allow triplet exciton energy transfer into the silicon device, therefore demonstrating a potential pathway to enable solar module efficiencies above 30 per cent.
The project will demonstrate singlet fission enhanced silicon solar cells with improved power conversion from the four major solar technologies in mass production (PERC, TOPCon, HJT and IBC) with testing samples supplied by industrial project partners.
Research activity will be conducted at every level of the problem, starting with the development of a standard silicon interface upon which singlet fission materials will be trialled. Those singlet fission materials will be synthesised and their function on a silicon surface evaluated spectroscopically. Standard solar cell current-voltage measurements will be used to assess the photovoltaic performance and minimodules will be assembled to evaluate the stability of the singlet fission PV devices. The project will iterate through a circular development cycle of molecular design, spectroscopic assessment, device testing, modelling and evaluation. In addition, a technoeconomic analysis will be performed to guide industrial partners on the likely cost profile of the technology when integrated into industrial process lines.
The project will achieve the following outcomes:
- Acceleration of the development of commercially competitive modules with efficiencies above 30 per cent through demonstration of singlet fission enhanced silicon solar cells.
- Increased knowledge relevant to renewable energy technologies through the filing of intellectual property on singlet fission technology.
- Improved collaboration between research and industry partners to support research on singlet fission enhanced silicon solar cells and encourage progression towards commercialisation of singlet fission technology.
- Increased knowledge relevant to singlet fission technology through dissemination of key research findings to the photovoltaic research community, industry and the public.