Hybrid micro-scale photovoltaics for enhanced energy conversion across all irradiation conditions

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University of Delaware
A novel hybrid photovoltaics (HPV) architecture is presented that integrates high-performance micro-optics-based concentrator photovoltaics (CPV) array technology with a 1-sun photovoltaic (PV) cell within a low-profile panel structure. The approach simultaneously captures the direct solar radiation components with arrayed high-efficiency CPV cells and the diffuse solar components with an underlying wide-area PV cell. Performance analyses predict that the hybrid approach will significantly enhance the average energy produced per unit area for the full range of diffuse/direct radiation patterns across the USA. Furthermore, cost analyses indicate that the hybrid concept may be financially attractive for a wide range of locations. Indoor and outdoor experimental evaluation of a micro-optical system designed for use in a hybrid architecture verified that a large proportion of the direct radiation component was concentrated onto emulated micro-cell regions while most of the diffuse radiation and the remaining direct radiation was collected in the 1-sun cell area.