‘These studies open up an entirely new application of amorphous silicon and make a highly-economic PVT possible,’ says Dr. Pearce. ‘We need both solar electricity and solar heating in Canada but we are running into ‘roof real estate’ issues. Now people can have both their solar electricity and solar heating combined in a nice tidy package.’
The amorphous silicon has several advantages over crystal silicon. It requires less material, costs less to manufacture and offers a higher return on investment. The research also shows amorphous silicon solar cells can be made into thicker cells as long as they are operated at higher temperatures in the PVT system.
The research was published in Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells and Solar Energy.