Technical Area Overview
Area 1: Fundamentals and New Concepts for Future Technologies
Area 2: Thin Film Polycrystalline Photovoltaics
Area 3: III-V and Concentrator Technologies
Area 4: Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics
Area 5: Thin Film Silicon based PV technologies
Area 6: Organic Photovoltaics
Area 7: Space Technologies
Area 8: Characterization Methods
Area 9: PV Modules and Terrestrial Systems
Area 10: PV Velocity Forum

Please use the tabs below to view the Overview for each techinical area.

Select an area below:

Area 1: Fundamentals and New Concepts for Future Technologies

Chair: Ryne Raffaelle, Rochester Inst. Of Tech., USA
Co-Chair: Ned Elkins-Daukes, Imperial College, UK
Co-Chair: Yoshitaka Okada, Univ. Tokyo, Japan

Subarea 1.1: Fundamental Conversion Mechanisms - Martha Symko-Davies (NREL)

Subarea 1.2: Quantum Dots, Nanowires, and Quantum Wells - Seth Hubbard (Rochester Inst. Of Technology)

Subarea 1.3: Novel Materials Systems - Pete Sheldon (NREL)

The development of the photovoltaic industry over the past decade has been truly remarkable. However, much work remains if we are to be able to sustain this type of growth over the decades to come. Papers sought for Area 1 should describe basic research in physical, chemical and optical phenomena, new materials and novel device concepts, which are essential to feed the innovation pipeline leading to future-generation PV technologies.

Area 1 is devoted to recent work on photovoltaic fundamentals and new concepts, which have been categorized in the four subareas presented below. We encourage authors to submit papers on detailed scientific research studies and visionary papers addressing the full range of fundamental materials and technological challenges for the future of our field, including:

Sub-area 1.1: Fundamental Conversion Mechanisms

Recently, a variety of new paradigms for photovoltaic conversion have been proposed. Sub-area 1.1 attempts to capture the best experimental and theoretical work exploring these new approaches. Examples of new mechanisms of interest are non-conventional PV conversion processes based on quantum confinement and nanostructured concepts, intermediate-band solar cells, multiple charge generation, up/down converters, thermophotonics, hot-carrier cells, and other concepts. Also, new device structures that incorporate such things as quantum dots, wires, and wells, highly metamorphic materials, and new materials systems are also of interest. Finally, cross-cutting science approaches which may involve heretofore unexplored materials, such as new hybrid organic/inorganic molecules, or innovative devices structures, such as luminescent concentrator designs, are solicited.

Sub-area 1.2: Quantum Dots, Nanowires, and Quantum Wells
The use of quantum confined materials has great potential for exploitation in future photovoltaic conversion systems. Sub-area 1.2 will cover the synthesis, characterization and modeling of these low-dimensional materials and devices. This includes developmental studies on both colloidal and epitaxial new quantum dot systems and their use in devices. Papers on the theoretical and experimental progress on the development of intermediate band solar cells are anticipated. New results are solicited on the growth and use of nanowires and nanotubes for a variety of photovoltaic applications, such as light-trapping antireflection coatings and as absorber materials. Finally, the use multiple quantum wells and other means of bandgap engineering for new multi-layer and concentrator solar cells are included in this sub-area.

Sub-area 1.3: Novel Materials Systems
Sub-area 1.3 covers progress on the development of new materials for photovoltaic applications. This includes the theoretical and experimental development of new compound semiconductors based on more abundant or less toxic replacements for current state-of-the-art materials. Materials with improved physical properties, such as absorption coefficients, carrier mobilities, or bandgaps, are also included. Also, advances in coatings, such as oxygen and moisture barriers or transparent conductors, are of interest. New and better antireflection coatings and materials used selective filters are solicited.

Area 2: Thin Film Polycrystalline Photovoltaics

Chair: Markus Beck, First Solar, USA

Sub-area 2.1: Absorber Formation and Characterization - Chris Ferekides, University of South Florida, USA; Tokio Nakada, Tokyo University, Japan; Daniel Abou-Ras, HZB, Germany

Sub-area 2.2: Alternate Substrates, Back Contact Materials, Buffer Compounds, and TCOs - Ingrid Repins, NREL, USA; Clemens Heske, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, USA

Sub-area 2.3: Device Properties, Modeling, Stability and Defect Characterization -- Susanne Siebentritt, University of Luxembourg; Ralph Gottschlag, Loughborough University, UK

Sub-area 2.4: High Volume Manufacturing, Performance, Metrology, Process Control and Reliability - Ayodhya Tiwari, ETH, Germany; John Kessler, Université de Nantes, France

Over the past decade, thin-film compound semiconductor-based photovoltaic devices, in particular CdTe and Cu(In,Ga)(S,Se)2, managed to transition from the laboratory into high volume manufacturing capturing close to 20 percent of the terrestrial PV market while new material systems, such as Cu2ZnSn(S,Se)4, are demonstrating potential to follow suite. Despite the significant progress for the various material systems, a multitude of challenges remain and there continues to be a need for fundamental as well as applied research. Area 2 of the 38th IEEE PVSC invites contributions addressing recent progress in this field, spanning the range of material formation and characterization, device measurements and modeling, as well as module manufacturing and process metrology. Additional aspects encompass device stability and module reliability, alternate substrates, back contact and buffer materials as well as transparent conductive oxides. Contributions should address the fundamental science and engineering issues of thin-film deposition, characterization of structural, optical, electrical and interface properties, modeling, the role of defects and impurities, the effect of interfaces and buffer layers, as well as device stability and module reliability.

Area 3: III-V and Concentrator Technologies

Chair: Mark Stan, Emcore, USA
Carlos Algora, UPM, Spain
Co-chair: Kenji Araki, Daido Steel Corp., Japan
Co-chair: Frank Dimroth, Fraunhofer, Germany
Co-chair: Scott Burroughs, Semprius, Inc., USA

Sub-area 3.1: Materials and Devices

Sub-area 3.2: Concentrator Receiver and Modules

Sub-area 3.3: High and Low Concentrator Systems

This focus area of the IEEE Photovoltaic Specialists Conference covers the latest technical progress in concentrating photovoltaic technology. The area welcomes papers describing advances enabling higher efficiency, lower cost, or more reliable concentrator modules and systems.

Sub-area 3.1: Materials and Devices
Solar cell devices are discussed for concentrator systems, including studies on high-efficiency cell materials and designs, their characterization, special measurement requirements, performance, long-term behavior, reliability and cost. The concentrator cells may include monolithic multijunction III-V solar cells, low-cost silicon concentrator cells, stacked cells, new component cells, etc.

Sub-area 3.2: Concentrator Receivers and Modules
This sub-topic area presents the latest advances in receiver and module design, testing, manufacturability and reliability. Testing and characterization relating to optical and electrical design, thermal management, and environmental factors are emphasized. Reliability of receivers and panels relating to cell protection, mounting and interconnecting, heat sinking, optics, mechanical design, qualification testing, and other factors are covered. Performance modeling and characterization based upon environmental conditions are sought.

Sub-area 3.3: High and Low Concentrator systems
System integration of receivers and modules into tracking and non-tracking systems are important factors to overall system performance, cost and reliability. This sub-topic area is intended to cover both high and low concentrator system designs utilizing III-V cells, Si cells, and other novel concentrator materials. Discussion topics include system cost, performance and operation, characterization, environmental factors, and reliability. Field performance measurements and evaluation of concentrator projects to permit realistic evaluation of overall system performance, reliability, and design requirements that lead to revised and better designs for improved cost and manufacturability are encouraged.

Area 4: Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics

Chair: Nathan Stoddard, SolarWorld, USA
Co-Chair: Paul von Dollen, University of California Santa Barbara, USA
Co-Chair: Gianluca Coletti, ECN, The Netherlands

Sub-area 4.1: Feedstock - Roland Einhaus, Apollon Solar, France

Sub-area 4.2: Crystallization and Wafering - Jinggang Lu, Suntech

Sub-area 4.3: Passivation and Advanced Devices - Giso Hahn, University of Konstanz, Germany

Sub-area 4.4: Advances in Industrial Cell Processing - Zhigang Rick Li, Dupont, USA

Sub-area 4.5: Fundamentals (Modeling, Characterization, Gettering, Defects) - Mariana Bertoni, 1366 Technologies, USA

The downward trend in module prices worldwide continues to drive the need for improved technology in crystalline silicon to maintain competitiveness and meet the demands of a widening market. Refinements in fundamental understanding on topics such as crystallization techniques, defect control and surface passivation drive further improvement in performance. Advances in cell performance demand a difficult balance of performance and manufacturability. We invite papers reporting on all aspects of crystalline silicon technology, encompassing the value chain from feedstock through crystallization, wafer cutting, wafer handling and cell design, as well as the fundamental aspects of defect characterization, gettering, modeling and optics.

Area 5: Thin Film Silicon Based PV Technologies

Chair: Arno Smets, Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands
David Young, NREL, USA
Co-chair: Aad Gordijn, Forschungszentrum Jülich, Germany
Co-chair: Hitoshi Sai, AIST, Japan

Sub-area 5.1: Fundamental Properties of Thin Film Silicon - Nikolas Podraza, University of Toledo, USA

Sub-area 5.2: Processing Issues for Thin Silicon Films and Devices - Yasushi Sobajima, Osaka University, Japan

Sub-area 5.3: Light Management Concepts in Thin Film Silicon Solar Cell Devices - Franz-Jozef Haug, EPFL Neuchatel, Switzerland

Sub-area 5.4: Novel Concepts for Thin Film Silicon Solar Cell Devices - Vikram Dalal, Iowa State University, USA

Sub-area 5.5: Polycrystalline and Epitaxial Silicon Technology - Ivan Gordon, IMEC, Belgium

Sub-area 5.6: Thin Film Silicon Based Solar Cells, Multijunctions and PV Modules - Bernd Stannowski, Helmholtz Zentrum Berlin, Germany

Thin-film photovoltaics based on amorphous, nano/microcrystalline, polycrystalline and epitaxial silicon on non Si-substrates have matured through three decades of advances in the design and processing of high-quality materials, solar cells and modules. Despite these advances, many fundamental and technological issues of great importance still remain in order to achieve further progress, including the further increase of the conversion efficiencies and the reduction of cost in thin silicon film-based solar cells. Detailed research studies and visionary papers addressing the entire spectrum of the subject are welcomed. These topics include, but are not limited, to: material characterization concerning microstructure, light induced degradation, various silicon based alloy types such as SiGe:H, SiC:H, SiO:H, film oxidation, passivation at heterojunction interfaces; processing issues concerning large throughput, large area, high deposition rates, contamination issues, processing routes for polycrystalline and epitaxial silicon; light trapping using textured interfaces, multi-layers, intermediate reflective layers and new TCO materials or concepts; novel concepts for thin silicon solar cells concerning films with new functionalities, plasmonic approaches, spectral conversion; and all topics related to amorphous/microcrystalline/polycrystalline/epitaxial silicon film solar cells and modules such as multi-junction structures, high performance and long-term reliability.

Area 6: Organic Photovoltaics

Chair: David Ginley, NREL, USA
Ivgenny Katz, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel
Co-chair: Yang Yang, University of California Los Angeles, USA
Co-chair: Barry Rand, IMEC, Belgium

Sub-area 6.1: New Organic Materials -- Gui Bazan, UCSB, USA; Seth Marder, Georgia Institute of Technology, USA

Sub-area 6.2: Device Concepts/Interfacial Science & Engineering -- Dana Olson, NREL, USA; Neal Armstrong, University of Arizona, USA

Sub-area 6.3: Lifetime and Scale up of OPV and Related Devices -- Darin Laird, Plextronics, USA; Matt Lloyd, NREL, USA

Organic, hybrid inorganic/organic, and dye-sensitized solar cells are rapidly advancing technologies that are beginning to demonstrate initial commercial viability. With efficiencies in OPV and DSSC approaching or exceeding 10 percent and new tandem devices approaching 9 percent, these technologies may represent scalable PV technologies capable of achieving DOE cost goals. The flexibility to model and produce different donor/acceptor combinations, including both organic small molecule and polymer as well as nanostructured inorganic materials, stimulates a large diversity of possible approaches to realize the promise of efficient and highly stable devices. Many of the devices are excitonic in nature, necessitating new models and understanding of the critical interfaces in the bulk heterojunction and the contacts.

The symposium will focus on the examination of many of the key areas evolving in this diverse approach to solar energy. The primary focus will be in three primary areas that crosscut many of the themes in the broad set of devices combining inorganic and organic materials to developed high performance solar energy convertors with stability and low cost.

  1. New materials synthesis - this includes the topic of first principles design of new donor/acceptor materials, active absorbers and the enhancement of PV properties with QD and related inorganic materials. Themes are design and synthesis for increased red response, for tandem devices, and for stability.
  2. Device design and interfacial science and engineering - as materials evolve, so must the overall device structure and the interface to the outside world. This combination of device structure and interface design and characterization, crossing the boundaries of organic and inorganic materials, is unique to this area.
  3. Lifetime and scale-up - while OPV devices have demonstrated encouraging lifetimes, it is clear that to reach large scale production, new processes, module designs and packaging will be need to be developed. As market penetration is aimed at building integrated PV and power generation, this may require specific evolution for these applications. Key is establishing and predicting lifetime with a constantly changing set of materials.

Area 7: Space Technologies

Chair: David Wilt, AFRL, USA
Co-Chair: Mitsuru Imaizumi, JAXA, Japan
Co-Chair: Steven Taylor, ESA, The Netherlands

Sub-area 7.1: Space Devices and Materials - Daniel Law (Spectrolab) and Pravin Patel (Emcore)

Sub-area 7.2: Space Systems - Claus Zimmerman (EADS Astrium) and Scott Billets (Lockheed Martin)

Sub-area 7.3: Flight Performance and Environmental Effects - Scott Messenger (NRL) and Bao Hoang (Loral)

Advances in photovoltaic device performance for spacecraft applications over the past decade have been continuous and remarkable. However, spacecraft requirements of the power system continue to grow and power subsystems are still the most failure prone, thus there is much work to be done. Papers are sought that describe advancements in photovoltaic devices capable of high performance (efficiency, mass specific power, volumetric specific power, radiation stability, high temperature capability, LILT, low-cost, etc) as well as solar array designs suitable for these advanced devices. Also of interest are papers concerning cell, array and power system reliability, space environmental effects, and advanced protective materials for the space environment. To span the spectrum from fundamental research to applied engineering, we welcome papers ranging fromtheoretical studies to applied experimental efforts, including characterization and qualification as well as flight experiments and missions.

Area 7 has been divided into three subareas, as presented below. Submission of papers on detailed scientific research studies and visionary papers addressing the full range of these fundamental issues and technological challenges in the field are invited, including:

Sub-area 7.1: Space Devices and Materials
This subarea focuses on novel photovoltaic device approaches and recent developments for achieving high performance photovoltaic devices for spacecraft applications. Submissions may include (but are not be limited to) next generation multijunction solar cells, quantum enhanced devices, advanced cell materials and the spin-on of terrestrial photovoltaics for spacecraft applications (ie. thin film PV, etc). In addition, novel environmental protection technologies that enable longer on-orbit capability, high voltage operation, etc., are sought. Papers on characterization, modeling, and qualification of high efficiency solar cells are also welcome.

Sub-area 7.2: Space Systems
This subarea focuses on technology developments associated with integrating space photovoltaic devices into high performance spacecraft power systems, including blanket/module technologies (cell interconnects, advanced harnessing, modularity schemes, etc) and advanced solar array technologies.

Sub-area 7.3: Flight Performance and Environmental Effects
Analysis and results from on-orbit experimentation will be presented in this subarea. This includes behavioral data and analysis of high performance photovoltaic devices and systems exposed to the space environment as well as results from on-ground testing activities under realistic conditions. Papers examining solar cell degradation due to particle irradiation along with its modeling and flight prediction are encouraged. Also of interest are papers in which performance data is presented relevant to specific missions, such as near sun or deep space where solar cell performance has to be determined under extreme conditions (high intensity, high temperature and low intensity, low temperature, respectively). Finally, an emphasis will be placed on papers addressing photovoltaic device/array reliability.

Area 8: Characterization Methods

Chair: Gerald Siefer, Fraunhofer ISE, Germany
Co-chair: Yoshihiro Hishikawa, AIST, Japan
Co-chair: Daniel Macdonald, ANU, Australia
Co-chair: Manuel Romero, NREL, USA

Sub-area 8.1: Defects in Photovoltaic Materials and Solar Cells

Sub-area 8.2: Advanced Methods and Instruments for the Characterization of Solar Cells and Modules

Sub-area 8.3: Characterization Methods for the Photovoltaic Industry: In-Situ Measurements, Process Control, Defect Monitoring

Sub-area 8.4: Challenges in the Characterization of Multi-Junction PV Devices

Sub-area 8.5: Performance, Reliability Testing, and Standards

It is difficult to understand innovation in photovoltaics without the support of measurements and characterization. Measurements are needed at all different levels of R&D, from the investigation of the operating principles of solar cells to standards for the performance of installed PV systems. Understanding the relations between structure, physical properties, and the resulting PV performance is an exemplary problem in materials science and engineering and, in our opinion, one of the most critical to the development of the next generation of PV. Area 8 is intended for the presentation of the latest developments in the characterization of photovoltaics. We encourage members of the PV community to submit their contributions addressing the full range of scientific and technological challenges in the field, including the following topics:

8.1: Defects in Photovoltaic Materials and Solar Cells
The presence of defects often limits the performance of solar cells and process yield. Relevant to this subarea are all methods for the characterization of defects and their influence on the PV performance, including (opto)electronic measurements, structure, composition, stress fields, and mechanical properties. This sub-area includes both intrinsic defects of the PV materials and manufacturing defects associated with yield.

8.2: Advanced Methods and Instruments for the Characterization of Solar Cells and Modules
In the last decade, improvements in methods and instrumentation in the field of the characterization of PV have been extraordinary. This sub-area is targeted to an audience that is interested in getting a better understanding of the most recent developments in characterization methods and the capabilities offered by the latest generation of instruments available to the PV community and how their research can be assisted by these new capabilities.

8.3: Characterization Methods for the Photovoltaic Industry: In-Situ Measurements, Process Control, Defect Monitoring
Process control typically requires continuous measurements integrated (and compatible) with the manufacturing equipment. These measurements, often required to be on contact and non-destructive, are essential to control manufacturing parameters and to yield and process performance optimization. In addition to this, it is important to develop feedback methods by which a process is controlled. This sub-area includes both novel methods and the application of existing methods in selected environments.

8.4: Challenges in the Characterization of Multi-Junction PV Devices
The concept of using more than one pn junction is one possible pathway to increase photovoltaic conversion efficiencies. It is successfully used in thin film photovoltaics as well as in III-V based solar cells. The internal series connection of several subcells, that cannot be accessed individually, adds complexity to the characterization. In addition spectral variations show a higher impact on the performance of these devices. Issues related to the characterization of multi-junction based photovoltaic devices are the topic of this subarea.

8.5: Performance, Reliability Testing, and Standards
Standardization of measurements for the determination of the performance, reliability and lifetime of PV modules and systems is increasingly important as the global installed PV power continues to expand exponentially. Of particular importance is the standardization of accelerated lifetime tests to estimate the PV performance over time. This subarea encompasses all such testing methods and standards as well as topics related to system components such as inverters, mounting hardware, resistance to harsh environmental conditions, and other issues.

Area 9: PV Modules and Terrestrial Systems

Chair: Jennifer Granata, Sandia National Laboratories, USA
Co-Chair: Wilfried van Sark, Utrecht Univ., The Netherlands
Co-Chair: Yuzuru Ueda, Tokyo Inst. Of Tech, Japan

Sub-area 9.1: Irradiance Resources - Steve Ransome, SRCL, UK

Sub-area 9.2: PV Module Materials, Durability, and Performance - Peter Hacke, NREL, USA

Sub-area 9.3: Inverters, Batteries, and other BOS Components - Mike Fife Advanced Energy Ind., USA

Sub-area 9.4: Grid Connected Systems and Smart Grids - Greg Ball, BEW, USA

Sub-area 9.5: Stand Alone Applications and PV Products - Robert Foster, New Mexico State University, USA

Sub-area 9.6: PV Modeling - Joshua Stein, Sandia National Laboratories, USA

In recent years, we have seen expansive growth in the number, size and locations of PV installations worldwide. This growth challenges the existing capabilities in resource, performance and reliability modeling; our understanding of module, inverter and BOS component lifetime and failure mechanisms; and the interactions of PV with the grid at high penetration levels. In 2012, we invite you to share your expertise, your research, your accomplishments and the advancements in your technology with the PV community in these research areas. In addition, we will be adding a special session on how PV could be an essential part of the future, particularly with interactions with smart grid concepts.

Area 10: PV Velocity Forum

Chair: Elaine Ulrich, U.S. Department of Energy, USA
John Benner, Stanford University, USA
Ardeth Barnhardt, University of Arizona, USA\
Robert Margolis, NREL, USA

Sub-Area 10.1 Manufacturing and Scaling Challenges -- John Benner, Stanford University, USA

Sub-Area 10.2 Deployment Challenges -- Robert Margolis, NREL, USA

Sub-Area 10.3 The PV Workforce Challenge -- Ardeth Barnhardt, University of Arizona, USA

Sub-Area 10.4 PV ESH Challenges - Brent Nelson, NREL

The PV Velocity Forum will address strategies to sustain or accelerate high growth rates and rapid cost reductions for PV technologies.
“Manufacturing and Scaling Challenges” will explore the outlook for materials and equipment supply chains (from cradle to grave), manufacturing costs, environmental and safety impacts, and Intellectual Property (IP) considerations that must be addressed in order to drive emerging technologies into production. In addition, insights, opportunities for collaboration, and lessons learned from related industries like LED lighting, flexible display and from successful market players will be highlighted. “Deployment Challenges” will focus on the growing solar market, including finance, bankability, validation, siting and environmental issues, regulatory and policy engagement and governmental programs and projects. “The PV Workforce Challenge” will offer a forum for discussing the skills and expertise required to transform and grow the PV workforce as the industry and technologies mature, with an emphasis on finding ways to effectively increase the breadth of expertise engaged in PV R&D, manufacturing and technology support. Finally, the “PV EHS Challenges” will focus on environmental, safety, and health challenges to keep PV technologies safe and environmentally responsible from R&D, through manufacturing, to deployment.