Numerical power balance and free energy loss analysis for solar cells including optical, thermodynamic, and electrical aspects
A method for analyzing the power losses of solar cells is presented, supplying a complete balance of the incident power, the optical, thermodynamic, and electrical power losses and the electrical output power. The involved quantities have the dimension of a power density (units: W/m(2)), which permits their direct comparison. In order to avoid the over-representation of losses arising from the ultraviolet part of the solar spectrum, a method for the analysis of the electrical free energy losses is extended to include optical losses. This extended analysis does not focus on the incident solar power of, e. g., 1000 W/m(2) and does not explicitly include the thermalization losses and losses due to the generation of entropy. Instead, the usable power, i.e., the free energy or electro-chemical potential of the electron-hole pairs is set as reference value, thereby, overcoming the ambiguities of the power balance. Both methods, the power balance and the free energy loss analysis, are carried out exemplarily for a monocrystalline p-type silicon metal wrap through solar cell with passivated emitter and rear (MWT-PERC) based on optical and electrical measurements and numerical modeling. The methods give interesting insights in photovoltaic (PV) energy conversion, provide quantitative analyses of all loss mechanisms, and supply the basis for the systematic technological improvement of the device.