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PV-6: Novel Materials for Intrinsic Stability in Harsh Environments

Solar Energy Research Center for India and the United States (SERIIUS)


Sustainable Photovoltaics


Multiscale modeling and reliability


To both anticipate potential weaknesses that could limit lifetime of photovoltaic (PV) devices and to be prepared to address the whole spectrum of the device and module elements to improve operating lifetimes.

Project Milestones:

P31Demonstrate transparent conducting oxide (TCO) with 2000 S/cm and that is process compatible and shows stable contact performance to CIGS (12 months), OPV (24 months).

P32Demonstrate a new nano-hybrid encapuslant with a WVTR of 10-4 (24 months).

P33Develop high-performance p-type TC (60 months).

P34Initiate testing for coatings for soiling and dust mitigation with initial module deployment (12 months).

P35Develop new approaches to encapsulation (28 months).

P36Develop new transparent conductor (42 months).

P37Test dust and soiling mitigation (initial performance report) (24 months).

Task 1: New approaches to encapsulation

  • Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL)
  • Indian Institute of Science (IISc)

The task will initially focus on evaluating consortium and baseline commercial PV modules and evaluating models from PV-4 and PV-5 to identify specific reliability problems requiring new materials development for contacts and encapsulation. As reliability data become available for SERIIUS-developed devices/modules, this information will be incorporated, as well. Key outputs of this task will be a comparison of emerging reliability data for Indian environments against new materials developments in a robust standardized approach resulting in improved data, protocols, and more robust packaging.

Task 2: New transparent conductor development

  • Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science (IACS)
  • National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)
  • Washington University in St. Louis
  • Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL)
  • Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (IITB)

We will develop new transparent and also special non-transparent contacts for the emerging materials in Activity 1, compatible with the processes in Activity 2 that are inherently more stable. This is a key area because the TCO is often the critical interface between the absorber and substrate or the absorber and encapsulant/top sheet. For the new systems, high-performance contacts with the right optoelectronic properties are required—and they must enhance and not be detrimental to the reliability of the entire device structure. The task will look at novel high-stability materials, new low-cost TCO materials, and novel p-type materials that can be enabling for new device configurations.

Task 3: Dust and soiling mitigation

  • Arizona State University (ASU)
  • Solar Energy Center (SEC)
  • National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)
  • Indian Institute of Science (IISc)
  • Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (IITB)

For Indian environments in particular, and in some U.S. cases, many solar collectors will be deployed in harsh environments with severe dust and soiling issues (as well as water availability issues, such as in Rajasthan). Dust mitigation is a priority with immense benefit to both the Nehru Solar Mission and the SunShot Initiative. This task will focus on testing a number of commercially developed PV module coatings, cooperating with existing industry partners and developing and evaluating some new coatings based on nanotechnology approaches. Site-specific testing, control and test module deployments/monitoring, and specific reliability/lifetime determinations and cleaning procedures will be a major focus.