Amorphous Silicon Solar Cells

  • J. I. B. Wilson
Part of the NATO Advanced Study Institutes Series book series (NSSB, volume 84)


The first reports of amorphous silicon photovoltaic diodes appeared in 1976 , and since then several other device applications have been suggested2,3,4,5, but it is the promise of cheap solar cells with efficiencies greater than the present 5–6% which excites most attention. Whilst crystalline Si p-n solar cells do work effectively, they are too expensive for terrestrial applications, unless their ability to operate for long periods without maintenance can offset the initial capital investment, at a site where there is no electrical power line. Present efforts to reduce the cost of solar cell electricity either attempt to use high efficiency cells (based on GaAs and GaxA11-xAs) with cheap optical concentrators, or attempt to use large-area thin film cells of modest efficiency but cheap construction. In locations where there is a large amount of diffuse, scattered sunlight, optical concentrators are useless, and in any location they require a solar tracking mechanism with its attendant maintenance problems. Thin film cells are not commercially available,although those based on CuxS/CdS have been on the verge of success for some years despite lifetime problems6. As a half-way stage, and to retain the attractions of familiar silicon technology, there have been several ingenious techniques of producing planar forms of crystalline silicon without the necessity for growing and slicing ingots7, and this does result in some reduction of cost.


Solar Cell Amorphous Silicon Crystalline Silicon Maximum Power Point Amorphous Silicon Solar Cell 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. I. B. Wilson
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PhysicsHeriot-Watt UniversityEdinburghUK

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