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Design and characterization of freeform waveguides for solar concentrated PV technology (Conference Presentation)
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Paper Abstract

In solar applications, traditional crystalline silicon photovoltaic (PV) cells are the most commonly used technology to harvest solar energy. The efficiency of Si PV is fundamentally limited to around 33% and in practice, these cells have an outdoor efficiency of less than 22%. Concentrated PV technology uses multi-junction PV cells that collect a broader spectrum of the sun with high efficiency (>40% has been reported). However, due to the different semiconductors used, multi-junction cell costs are higher than traditional PV cells. Increasing the solar concentration not only reduces the cost of electricity produced by multi-junction cells, by reducing the required area, but can also maximize the IV efficiency of the cells. There exist different methods to concentrate solar energy such as large parabolic mirrors, which have tracking challenges due their size and weight; or spherical lens arrays, which have limited optical geometrical concentration ratios. In this respect, freeform optical devices can be used to enhance the optical throughput for multi-junction cells and reduce the space required to achieve large concentration ratios. In this work, we discuss a novel optical design combining aspherical lens arrays and arrays of optical waveguides, which constitute broadband, freeform non-imaging optical devices. We compare different waveguide designs which have been optimized using non-sequential ray tracing software. The relationship between the optical surface quality and the optical efficiency is also investigated. Finally, we present the results of the experimental characterization of these waveguides under laboratory conditions using different techniques to measure optical throughput and stray light losses.

Paper Details

Date Published: 18 September 2018
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Proc. SPIE 10758, Nonimaging Optics: Efficient Design for Illumination and Solar Concentration XV, 107580Q (18 September 2018); doi: 10.1117/12.2504216
Show Author Affiliations
Liliana Ruiz Diaz, College of Optical Sciences, The Univ. of Arizona (United States)
Remington S. Ketchum, College of Optical Sciences, The Univ. of Arizona (United States)
Nicholas P. Lyons, College of Optical Sciences, The Univ. of Arizona (United States)
Sifang Cui, College of Optical Sciences, The Univ. of Arizona (United States)
Michael Frasier, DWP Energy Solutions, LLC (United States)
Pierre-Alexandre J. Blanche, College of Optical Sciences, The Univ. of Arizona (United States)
Kyungjo Kim, College of Optical Sciences, The Univ. of Arizona (United States)
Hao Chih Yuan, DWP Energy Solutions, LLC (United States)
Wei Pan, DWP Energy Solutions, LLC (United States)
Robert A. Norwood, College of Optical Sciences, The Univ. of Arizona (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 10758:
Nonimaging Optics: Efficient Design for Illumination and Solar Concentration XV
Roland Winston; Eli Yablonovitch, Editor(s)

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