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Proceedings Paper

Space Solar Cell Research: Problems And Potential
Author(s): Dennis J. Flood
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Paper Abstract

The value of a passive, maintenance-free, renewable energy source was immediately recognized in the early days of the space program, and the silicon solar cell, despite its infancy, was quickly pressed into service. Efficiencies of those early space solar arrays were low, and lifetimes shorter than hoped for, but within a decade significant advances had been made in both areas. Better performance was achieved because of a variety of factors, ranging from improvements in silicon single crystal material, to better device designs, to a better understanding of the factors that affect the performance of a solar cell in space. Chief among the latter, particularly for the mid-to-high altitude (HEO) ana geosynchronous (GEO) orbits, are the effects of the naturally occurring particulate radiation environment. Although not as broadly important to the photovoltaic community at large as increased efficiency, the topic of radiation damage is critically important to use of solar cells in space, and is a major component of the NASA research program in space photo-voltaics. This paper will give a brief overview of some of the opportunities and challenges for space photovoltaic applications, and will discuss some of the current research directed at achieving high efficiency and controlling the effects of radiation damage in space solar cells.

Paper Details

Date Published: 20 November 1986
PDF: 6 pages
Proc. SPIE 0706, Photovoltaics for Commercial Solar Power Applications, (20 November 1986); doi: 10.1117/12.937230
Show Author Affiliations
Dennis J. Flood, Lewis Research Center (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 0706:
Photovoltaics for Commercial Solar Power Applications
David Adler, Editor(s)

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