Technical Area Overview

Click on an area below to view the associated technical program.

Area 1: Fundamentals and New Concepts for Future Technologies
Area 2: Chalcogenide Thin Film Solar Cells
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 Manufacturing
Area 10: PV Systems and Applications
Area 11: PV Deployment
Area 12: Reliability of PV

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: Jessica Adams, MicroLink Devices, USA
Co-Chair: Nicholas Ekins-Daukes, Imperial College London, UK
Co-Chair: Peichen Yu, National Chiao Tung University, Taiwan
Co-Chair: Stephen Bremner, University of New South Wales, Australia

Area 1 description
Paradigm shifts in solar cell technology are invariably preceded by breakthroughs arising from basic scientific research. In recent years, there have been a number of exciting results in the fundamental arena, including the demonstration of two-photon absorption processes in nanostructured solar cell devices, and sophisticated optical management designs resulting in world record single-junction and dual-junction cell efficiencies. Area 1 comprises fundamental research and novel device concepts that will provide a platform for the development of future photovoltaic technologies. Papers are sought describing research in basic physical, chemical and optical phenomena, in addition to studies of new materials and innovative device designs. Subjects of particular interest include, but are not limited to, nanostructures, hybrid organic-inorganic devices, advanced optical management approaches, new materials and synthesis processes, and unconventional conversion mechanisms.

Sub-Area 1.1: Fundamental Conversion Mechanisms
Sub-Area Chair: Seth Hubbard (Rochester Institute of Technology, USA)

Sub-Area 1.1 attempts to capture both experimental and theoretical work exploring new paradigms for photovoltaic energy conversion. Papers submitted to this sub-area would explore the fundamental physics or initial experimental demonstrations related to novel energy conversion mechanisms. In addition, papers on modeling and simulation of new device architectures to enable these conversion mechanisms are encouraged. Examples of new mechanisms of interest are non-conventional PV conversion processes based on, but not limited to, quantum confined or nanostructured concepts, intermediate band concepts, multiple exciton generation (MEG), thermophotonics or hot-carrier effects. Also of interest are concepts and demonstration of new materials and material science related to energy conversion. Finally, cross-cutting science approaches involving novel physics, innovative device structures, and modeling and simulation are solicited.

Sub-Area 1.2: Quantum-well, Wire, and Dot-Architectured Devices
Sub-Area Chairs: Christopher Bailey (US Naval Research Laboratory, USA), Daniel Farrell, (University of Tokyo, Japan)

Sub-Area 1.2 focuses on the bandgap engineering of photovoltaic devices via the inclusion of quantum structures, and the science involved in the photogeneration, recombination and carrier transport mechanisms in these devices. This is a particularly exciting time in this technical area as these novel architectures are at the cutting edge of photovoltaic research. Such device designs offer a multitude of realistic technological paths to attaining solar cells with efficiency in excess of 50%. To continue the momentum in the field, papers are sought on both the theoretical and experimental progress in the development of quantum-structured materials and devices. Submissions including novel designs, new material compositions, implementation of new uses of quantum confinement, and the exploitation of varying dimensionality of confinement are encouraged. Ideal submissions will range from studies of fundamental physics to examples of working devices.

Sub-Area 1.3: Hybrid Organic/Inorganic Solar Cells
Sub-Area Chair: Annick Anctil (Clemson University, USA)

Hybrid solar cells are designed to exploit the unique interfacial electronic properties at the organic-inorganic boundary. This class of devices is rooted in nanostructured TiO2 or ZnO integrated with conjugated polymers (P3HT), but is rapidly expanding to include many other organic and inorganic materials including single and polycrystalline Si and GaAs, organic small molecules, nanostructured carbon allotropes such as carbon nanotubes and graphene, as well as colloidal nanostructures including quantum wires, rods, and dots. Papers are sought which leverage the unique electronic and optical properties and functionality afforded by integrating organic and inorganic materials, and those which utilize quantum confined nanostructures to enhance charge transport and fine-tune the spectral sensitivity range. This sub-area has potential overlap with Sub-Area 6.2, and a joint session may be implemented.

Sub-Area 1.4: Advanced Light Management and Spectral Shaping
Sub-Area Chairs: Jonathan Grandidier (Jet Propulsion Laboratory, USA), Bryce Richards, (Heriot-Watt University, UK)

A way to improve the efficiency of a solar cell is to utilize most of the solar spectrum energy. Any effective solar cell technology requires some means for coupling light into the solar cell with minimum loss. Spectrum splitting, anti-reflection coatings, textured light trapping surfaces, luminescent (fluorescence) concentrator systems or advanced photonic or plasmonic structures are some of the ways to shape and take advantage of most of the solar spectrum. In addition, it is also desirable to modify the spectrum of the incident sunlight, using techniques such as up and down conversion either in planar layers or in waveguide structures. Papers submitted to this sub-area should address one or more of these themes and may be theoretical or experimental in nature.

Sub-Area 1.5: Novel Material Systems
Sub-Area Chair: Mariana Bertoni (Arizona State University, USA)

Sub-Area 1.5 covers progress on the development of novel inorganic materials and processing techniques for improving the performance, functionality, reliability, and scalability of PV devices. Such materials, combinations, and processes may find application in single-crystalline, thin film, multijunction, and nanostructured PV devices or may enable an entirely new device class on their own. Papers are sought that describe theoretical and/or experimental development of materials displaying novel properties, including but not limited to semiconductors, substrates, coatings, barriers, transparent conductive oxides (TCOs), pseudomorphic and metamorphic photovoltaic materials. Developments in the field of graphene and carbon nanotubes are of interest in this sub-area. Advances in growth, synthesis, deposition, doping and passivation schemes as well as new architectures that have the potential to lower material quality constraints are also solicited. Papers regarding progress in the area of III-V on silicon materials are welcome and may be included in a joint session with Area 3.

Area 2: Chalcogenide Thin Film Solar Cells

Chair: Susanne Siebentritt, University of Luxembourg, Luxembourg
Co-Chairs: Tim Gessert, NREL, USA
Co-Chairs: Takeaki Sakurai, University of Tsukuba, Japan

Area 2 description
Area 2 of the 40th IEEE PVSC continues a long tradition of meetings that focus on the science and technology of thin film solar cells based on chalcogenide materials. We invite contributions discussing solar cells based on Cu(InGa)Se2, Cu2ZnSn(Se)4, CdTe, and related materials. These materials include the highest efficiency thin film solar cells, reaching the same efficiencies on a lab scale as multicrystalline Si, as well as being flexible. The aim of Area 2 is to provide a platform for presenting recent and on-going research leading to improved understanding of materials and devices, exploring new directions for more efficient production, and narrowing the gap between cell and module efficiencies. The topics range from novel insights into the basic material science, study of device properties and new device structures, and discussion of the progress in deposition methods and growth control. A joint session with Area 5 (Thin film silicon based PV technologies) on light trapping methods is planned. We are looking forward to an exciting conference with intense discussions.

Sub-Area 2.1: Absorber Preparation
Sub-Area Chairs: Charlotte Platzer-Bjorkman (U Uppsala, Sweden), Shogo Ishizuka (AIST, Japan), Bill Shafarman (U Delaware, USA)

Keywords: vacuum and non-vacuum methods, process control, established and new absorbers

Sub-Area 2.2: Absorber Material Properties
Sub-Area Chairs: Thomas Unold (Helmholtz Zentrum Berlin, Germany), Takashi Minemoto (Ritsumeikan U, Japan), Yanfa Yan (U Toledo, US)

Keywords: bandgaps, defects, transport properties in established and new absorber materials

Sub-Area 2.3: Contacts, Buffers, Substrates and Interfaces
Sub-Area Chairs: Marcus Bar (HZB, Germany), Negar Naghavi (IRDEP, France), Norio Terada (Kagoshima U, Japan)

Keywords: novel buffer, window and back contact materials, flexible substrates, chemical and electronic interface structure

Sub-Area 2.4: Device Characterization and Modeling
Sub-Area Chairs: Pawel Zabierowski (Warsaw University of Technology, Poland), Akira Yamada (Tokyo Tech, Japan), Roland Scheer (U Halle, Germany)

Keywords: paths towards higher efficiency, metastabilities, new device structures, thin absorbers, micro cells, device simulation

Sub-Area 2.5: Manufacturing Progress
Sub-Area Chairs: Volker Probst (Bosch, Germany), Takayuki Negami (Panasonic, Japan), Markus Gloeckler (First Solar, US)

Keywords: large area, manufacturing throughput, high efficiency manufacturing, process control, patterning, module efficiencies, module reliability

Area 3: III-V Solar Cells and Concentrator Photovoltaics

Area Chair: Frank Dimroth, Fraunhofer ISE, Germany
Co-Chair: Myles Steiner, NREL, USA
Co-Chair: Kensuke Nishioka, University of Miyazaki, Japan

Area 3 description
Solar cells with the highest conversion efficiency are made of III-V compound semiconductor materials. Efficiencies up to 44 % have been demonstrated under concentrated sunlight and these high performance devices are commercially used in concentrator photovoltaic modules. Area 3 covers the science and engineering of III-V single- and multijunction solar cells with all aspects from theoretical modeling to growth related issues, material characterization, photon management, device processing and solar cell reliability. New technologies for advanced III-V multijunction solar cell architectures are welcome in this area. The specific topic of III-V solar cells on silicon substrates will be covered in a joint session with Area 1: Fundamentals, and papers are welcome in both areas based on their scientific focus. Materials science is the basis for continuous improvements in the understanding and further development of III-V solar cell structures. The development of III-V solar cell devices has a long-lasting tradition in the PVSC for both, terrestrial applications (Area 3) as well as in space (Area 7). Papers covering both aspects are welcomed.

III-V multijunction solar cells are the basis for the growing terrestrial market of high-concentration photovoltaics and concentrator silicon solar cells are the basis for systems in the low and medium concentration range. Area 3 covers all aspects of concentrator photovoltaics (CPV) system development including primary and secondary optics, solar cell receivers, module components, trackers, modules and CPV power plants. Reliability is an important aspect for this growing industry as well as market development, financing, power prediction, industry standards, balance of systems (BOS) and installation-related issues. Combined heat and power as well as new applications of CPV in buildings are welcome. In the field of low and medium concentration, high efficiency silicon solar cells offer interesting applications. Contributions are welcome featuring silicon solar cells and corresponding module technology designated for concentrator applications.

Contributions may range from exploratory research through applied research, technology development, and engineering improvements. We are inviting the community to submit their latest work to the PVSC-40 and discuss the most important technology aspects for making CPV a success!

Sub-Area 3.1: III-V Solar Cells - Modeling, Epitaxial Growth, Materials, Processing, Reliability
Sub-Area Chair: Marc Stan (Emcore Photovoltaics, USA)

This sub-area covers all aspects of the development of III-V multijunction solar cells for terrestrial applications. This includes (but is not limited to): epitaxial growth, theoretical modeling, material development, solar cell architectures, photon management, new manufacturing technologies, device processing, characterization, and reliability. Papers covering specific aspects of the growth and technology of III-V solar cells on silicon (for 1-sun and under concentration) are highly welcome and will be included in a joint session with Area 1: Fundamentals. Papers covering both space and terrestrial solar cell development aspects will be included in a joint session with Area 7.

Sub-Area 3.2: High Concentration PV - Power Plants, Systems, Modules, Optics, Receivers
Sub-Area Chair: Scott Burroughs (Semprius, USA)

This sub-area covers all research and development aspects of high-concentration (> 300 suns) photovoltaic modules and systems. Such systems use lenses or mirrors to focus the sunlight onto typically III-V multijunction solar cells. Papers are expected in the field of CPV modules, primary and secondary optics, system components, solar cell receivers, trackers, power plants, power rating, reliability, bankability, cost prediction, project development and financing, as well as aspects of grid integration and storage. Combined heat and power systems and new applications of CPV in buildings, rural electrification or for the production of hydrogen are highly welcome.

Sub-Area 3.3: Low and medium concentration PV - Si Concentrator Cells, Modules and System components
Sub-Area Chair: Daniel Biro (Fraunhofer ISE, Germany)

The low and medium concentration range in CPV extends from 3 to approximately 300 suns and is typically marked by the use of silicon solar cells. Conventional solar cells are often redesigned for the application under concentrated sunlight. This sub-area covers both the engineering of Si solar cells for applications in the 3-300x range, as well as all aspects of the module and system components. One-axis tracking is sufficient for many low concentration CPV systems. Improvements and/or reports on promising alternative approaches are also welcome. The challenge is to find configurations which lead to cost reduction compared to conventional flat-plate PV.

Area 4: Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics

Chair: Stefan Glunz, Fraunhofer ISE, Germany
Co-Chair: Ron Sinton, Sinton Instruments, USA
Co-Chair: Mariana Bertoni, ASU, USA
Co-Chair: Donghwan Kim, Korea University, Korea

Area 4 description
Crystalline silicon photovoltaics is the dominant solar cell technology, with a market share of around 85% in 2012. Silicon is non-toxic and abundantly available in the earth’s crust; silicon PV modules have proven their long-term stability over decades in the field. The price reduction of silicon modules in the last 30 years can be described very well by a learning factor of 20%. Due to strong competition, this price decline was even stronger in the last years, resulting in module prices well below $1/W. This is an excellent situation for customers and PV installers, but rather challenging for producers of silicon solar cells and modules. Thus, cost reduction is still a major task. The cost distribution of a crystalline silicon PV module is clearly dominated by material costs, especially by the cost of the silicon wafer. Therefore, besides improved production technologies, the efficiency of the cells and modules is the main leverage to bring down the cost even more, especially when considering the full levelized cost of PV electricity. Area 4 of the 40th IEEE PVSC invites contributions reporting on all aspects of crystalline silicon technology, encompassing the whole value chain, as well as fundamental and scientific aspects.

Sub-Area 4.1: Silicon Material: Technology and Analysis
Sub-Area Chair: Daniel Macdonald (ANU, Australia)

This sub-area covers the first part of value chain from feedstock through crystallization to wafering including kerf-less technologies. Additionally the mechanical characteristics of the resulting wafers as well as electronic and crystallographic properties (including defects, impurities and gettering) of the silicon material are addressed.

Sub-Area 4.2: Doping and Diffusion
Sub-Area Chair: Pierre-Jean Ribeyron (CEA-INES, France)

Doping and diffusion are substantial steps of the silicon solar cell process. This sub-area covers different technologies like gas phase diffusion, laser and thermally activated doping from deposited films, and implantation. A special focus is set on structured doping needed for advanced cell structures like interdigitated back-junction solar cells or selective emitters.

Sub-Area 4.3: Surface Passivation and Light-trapping
Sub-Area Chair: Bram Hoex (SERIS, Singapore)

With increasing quality of the bulk silicon material and the continuous reduction of the solar cell thickness, the surfaces of the solar cells are getting more and more important. This sub-area covers all aspects of surface passivation like dielectric layers, heterostructures, contact passivation, organic/inorganic interfaces and surface cleaning. Another important aspect related to the surfaces of silicon solar cells is improved photon absorption enhanced by classical, diffractive and plasmonic light-trapping.

Sub-Area 4.4: Contact Formation and Module Integration
Sub-Area Chair: Giso Hahn (Uni Konstanz, Germany)

The final step of cell processing is the formation of contacts. This sub-area covers aspects like screen printing, plating, evaporation, laser and thermal alloying of metals, and transparent electrodes. The contacts are also the interface to the subsequent module integration. Therefore topics like mechanical adhesion, multi-wire technologies and the interconnection of advanced cell structures like back-contact cells are also addressed in this sub-area.

Sub-Area 4.5: Device Physics and Analysis
Sub-Area Chair: Paul Basore (Hanwha, USA)

The development of non-standard solar cell architectures requires an in-depth understanding of the underlying device physics. This sub-area covers aspects like advanced device characterization and numerical simulation as well as the description of novel cell concepts.

Area 5: Thin film silicon based PV technologies

Chair: Franz-Josef Haug, Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL), Switzerland
Co-Chair: Ivan Gordon, IMEC, Belgium
Co-Chair: Hitoshi Sai, AIST, Japan

Area 5 description
Thin film silicon covers a class of materials that ranges from amorphous silicon and its group-IV alloys, over nano- and microcrystalline silicon, silicon-oxides and -carbides, to thin films of crystalline silicon. Research and development in this active area addresses fundamental concepts of material quality, recent insight into light induced degradation, and passivation of internal interfaces and heterojunctions. This area will also be a forum to discuss innovative cell architectures with multiple junctions and the application of mature concepts in large area industrial production.

Sub-Area 5.1: Amorphous and nanocrystalline silicon
Sub-Area Chairs: Hitoshi Sai (AIST, Japan), Nikolas Podraza (University of Toledo, USA)

Amorphous and nanocrystalline silicon materials have demonstrated their suitability for large-area fabrication and operation in the field. Nevertheless, a better understanding of light induced degradation of the former and the workings of the internal interfaces in the latter remain challenging topics. This sub-area will discuss the latest results on material science and device design.

Sub-Area 5.2: Thin crystalline silicon-films
Sub-Area Chairs: Ivan Gordon (IMEC, Belgium), Sergey Varlamov (UNSW Sydney, Australia)

Thin films of crystalline silicon promise to combine high efficiencies known from wafer-based cells with advantages of large-area manufacturing. This sub-area will discuss “bottom-up” approaches like recrystallization and “top-down” strategies like epitaxial lift-off as well as device results.

Sub-Area 5.3: Light management
Sub-Area Chairs: Matthias Meier (Julich Research Centre, Germany), Franz-Josef Haug (EPFL, Switzerland)

Owing to the indirect bandgap of crystalline silicon related materials, and to the small absorption volume in thin-film silicon cells, light management is important to all cell architectures of Area 5. Absorption enhancement is traditionally introduced by growing on textured light-scattering electrodes. More recent approaches separate this functionality into dedicated layers realized by novel technologies like nano-imprinting, or they employ innovative scattering strategies like dielectric and plasmonic nano-particles. In addition to applications inside Area 5, we plan a joint session with Area 2 on approaches that allow us to reduce the absorber thickness below the absorption length.

Sub-Area 5.4: Manufacturing
Sub-Area Chairs: Bernd Stannowski (Helmholtz Zentrum Berlin, Germany), Baojie Yan (formerly UniSolar, USA)

Amorphous and nanocrystalline materials are successfully used in module production. In order to reduce manufacturing cost and to increase industrial throughput, it is necessary to explore regimes with high deposition-rate and controlled levels of contamination. This applies not only to the silicon films but also to supporting films like the electrodes. Moreover, all aspects must be integrated into the tight schedule of module fabrication.

Area 6: Organic Photovoltaics

Chair: Moritz Riede, University of Oxford, United Kingdom
Co-Chair: Eszter Voroshazi, imec, Belgium
Co-Chair:Dana Olson, NREL, USA
Liaison Co-Chair: Yang Yang, UCLA, USA

Area 6 description
This focus area of the 40th IEEE Photovoltaic Specialists Conference (PVSC-40) covers the latest scientific and technical progress for a broad range of solar cells that fall in the category Organic Photovoltaics (OPV). OPV has continued to show tremendous progress in the past years. The creation of its own focus area at the PVSC means that it is considered as an established technology in general PV community. Solar cell efficiencies have rocketed to well above 10% and operating lifetimes have reached more than 10 years. Based on abundant materials and scalable coating technologies, OPV shows potential for low-cost, lightweight, and flexible solar power generation. Based on these prospects, many companies around the world are putting considerable efforts towards commercializing OPV. Organic photovoltaics - a prime example of interdisciplinary research drawing together expertise from chemistry, materials, physics, and engineering - will soon have to prove its viability in the market.

Despite this remarkable progress, much of the underlying physical processes and their limitations have yet to be better understood. Similarly, scale-up in manufacturing volume has proven challenging for fast progress towards commercialization. The goal of this focus area is to address these issues, ranging from fundamental science to technological advances in the highly interdisciplinary subareas outlined below. Furthermore, Area 6 will offer a unique possibility to strengthen interactions and integration between OPV researchers and the greater PV community, something everyone will benefit from. These goals will be supported by a set of tutorials on the first day of the conference.

Sub-Area 6.1: Organic Semiconductors as Absorbers
Sub-Area Chair: Hugo Bronstein (UCL, London, United Kingdom)

Sub-Area 6.1 focuses on the photovoltaic active layers in all-organic solar cells. This includes the topics of first principles design and synthesis of new donor and acceptor materials, methods of how to influence and characterize their microstructure in thin films, as well as investigations of generation, recombination and transport of free charge carriers , and modeling of device properties. Novel materials have been the main driving force for efficiencies in recent years and the nearly unlimited possibilities of organic chemistry have been both an advantage and a disadvantage. A better understanding of how the molecular structure influences the optoelectronic properties of solar cells is often considered as key for more targeted synthesis of improved absorbing molecules.

Sub-Area 6.2: Perovskites, Hybrid and Dye-sensitized Solar Cells
Sub-Area Chair: Eric Hoke (Stanford University, USA)

Sub-Area 6.2 covers the latest developments in solar cells that combine organic and inorganic materials to use their unique individual properties for efficiently harvesting solar energy. Combining organic and inorganic materials leads to highly interesting science when investigating generation, recombination, and transport of photogenerated charge carriers in the hybrid systems. Topics of this subarea include the development of novel materials like quantum dots and nanowires, progress of classic dye sensitized solar cells, and the recent rise of perovskites as absorber materials. This subarea has potential overlap with Sub-area 1.3 and depending on the number of abstracts, a joint session will be considered.

Sub-Area 6.3: Light Management and beyond the Single Junction Limit
Sub-Area Chair: Sumit Chaudhary (Iowa State University, IA, USA)

Proper light management is essential for highly efficient solar cells, but most OPVs are (very) thin film devices due to transport limitations, making sufficient light absorption a challenge. Sub-Area 6.3 covers both experimental and theoretical work on how to improve the utilization of the solar spectrum. This includes but is not limited to light-trapping by clever device designs, e.g., through microstructured surfaces or the incorporation of plasmonic nanoparticles, up- and down-conversion of photons, and various tandem approaches to beat the efficiency limit of single-junction devices.

Sub-Area 6.4: Contacts and Interfaces
Sub-Area Chair: Wolfgang Tress (University of Linkoping, Sweden)

As photovoltaic materials evolve so must their interfaces to the outside world. Sub-Area 6.4 encompasses topics ranging from the design and development of novel contact materials to the accurate characterization of interfaces for extraction of photogenerated charge carriers. Recent research has stressed how important the choice of interface materials and processes at the interface are on both solar cell durability (operating lifetimes) and efficiencies. This combination of interface design and characterization, crossing the boundaries of organic and inorganic materials is unique to OPV.

Sub-Area 6.5: Device Stability
Sub-Area Chair: Suren Gevorgyan (DTU, Denmark)

OPV devices have shown very encouraging efficiencies and operating lifetimes have reached more than 10 years. However, this is still far away from the targeted 20 years that conventional silicon PV guarantees. On the one hand, the understanding of the various degradation pathways has to be improved. On the other hand, a major challenge is reliably predicting solar cell and module operating lifetimes for the constantly changing materials sets and stack designs being investigated. Sub-Area 6.5 invites contributions on operating lifetime studies and concepts to improve the device stability, from more stable materials to high quality encapsulation.

Sub-Area 6.6: Scale-Up and Applications
Sub-Area Chair: Jan Gilot (TNO, Netherlands)

It is clear that on the way to large-scale production, correspondingly large-scale synthesis based on abundant materials and fast coating processes need to be developed. With the first real production systems in the final development phase, first markets like building integrated PV and mobile energy are likely to be targeted first. Given the unique form factors, there are many more applications for OPV, especially in areas where conventional PV reaches its limits. Sub-Area 6.5 deals with the challenges of scaling up production of OPV and ways to access an affordable terawatt capacity that the technology should allow for. This sub-area has potential overlap with Area 9 on PV Modules and Manufacturing. Depending on the number and nature of submitted abstracts, a joint session will be considered.

Area 7: Space Technologies

Chair: Mitsuru Imaizumi, JAXA, Japan
Co-Chair: Michael Piszczor, NASA, USA
Co-Chair:Stephen Taylor, ESA, EU

Area 7 description

Area 7 seeks all papers that deal with subjects and issues related to space photovoltaics, including topics from fundamental studies to flight performance. Almost all spacecraft are powered by PV generators, and thus advances in space PV technologies contribute significantly to improvement of spacecraft performance. Space engineering including PV is one of the most important key technologies which contribute to national security. We encourage your contribution to the space technology area from colleagues, including students, who are conducting fundamental studies such as investigations of radiation defects or development of new radiation-hard PV materials. As another initiative, we plan to organize a special joint session with Area 3: III-V Solar Cells and Concentrator Photovoltaics where topics on state-of-the-art, high-efficiency, innovative solar cell structures based on III-V materials will be discussed. We invite your papers on any subjects related to space PV described above, and look forward to your contribution!

Sub-Area 7.1: Fundamental studies on materials, cell structures and radiation effects
Sub-Area Chair: Tatsuya Takamoto (SHARP, Japan)

This sub-area focuses on novel photovoltaic device approaches and recent developments in high performance photovoltaic devices for space applications. Radiation hardening technologies that enable longer on-orbit capability are also sought. Papers on characterization and modeling of solar cells are welcomed. In particular, papers describing III-V on Si technologies for space application will be welcomed.

Sub-Area 7.2: Development of space cells, solar panels and space PV systems
Sub-Area Chair: Claus Zimmermann (Astrium, Germany)

This sub-area focuses on technology developments associated with space photovoltaic devices and high performance spacecraft power systems, including blanket/module technologies and advanced solar array technologies.

Sub-Area 7.3: Data analyses of flight demonstrations and missions
Sub-Area Chair: Scott Messenger (Naval Research Lab., USA)

Results from on-orbit experimentation and their analyses will be presented in this sub-area. Papers examining solar cell degradation due to particle irradiation along with its modeling and flight prediction are encouraged.

Area 8: Characterization Methods

Chair: Keith Emery, National Renewable Energy Lab, USA
Co-Chair: Wilhelm Warta, Fraunhofer ISE, Germany
Co-Chair: Jim Sites, Colorado State University, USA
Co-Chair: Dean Levi, NREL, USA
Co-Chair: Mowafak Al-Jassim, NREL, USA

Area 8 description
It is impossible to understand innovation in science without considering the support from measurements and characterization. Measurements are needed at all different levels of R&D and production - from investigating the operating principles of solar cells to developing standards for the performance of installed photovoltaic (PV) systems. The relationship between structure, physical properties, and the resulting PV performance is a challenge in materials science and engineering. Reliable and precise determination of the efficiency and thus power of solar cells and PV modules is crucial for the successful widespread deployment of PV and an ongoing challenge for flat-plate and concentrating PV technologies. Area 8 is intended to present 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 of characterization, including the following topics:

Sub-Area 8.1: Defects in Photovoltaic Materials and Solar Cells
Sub-Area Chairs: Muhammad Huda (University of Texas, USA), Fude Liu (The University of Hong, Kong)

The presence of defects often limits the performance of solar cells and process yield. Relevant to this subarea are all methods for characterizing defects and their influence on PV performance, including opto-electronic measurements, structure, composition, stress fields, and mechanical properties. This subarea includes both intrinsic defects of the PV materials and manufacturing defects associated with yield.

Sub-Area 8.2: Advanced Methods and Instruments for the Characterization of Solar Cells and Modules
Sub-Area Chairs: Harvey Guthrey (NREL, USA)

The last decade has seen extraordinary improvements in methods and instrumentation in the field of PV characterization. This subarea targets novel characterization methods and equipment, and involves both laboratory-based characterization and in-line high-throughput characterization. Submissions from commercial characterization equipment suppliers are encouraged to submit abstracts describing the technical capabilities of their product along with examples.

Sub-Area 8.3: In-Situ Measurements, Process Control, Defect Monitoring
Sub-Area Chairs: Daniel Abou-Ras (Institute Nano-Architectures for Energy Conversions, Germany), Martin Schubert (Fraunhofer ISE, Germany)

Process control typically requires continuous measurements that are integrated and compatible with the growth/manufacturing equipment. These measurements must be rapid, non-destructive, and often contactless to monitor and control manufacturing parameters for optimizing yield and process performance. Submissions are also encouraged for methods and algorithms to control a process based on monitored data.

Sub-Area 8.4: Challenges in the Characterization of Novel Solar Cell Concepts
Sub-Area Chair: TBD

Novel solar cell concepts require adapting characterization techniques. Solar cells such as multijunction devices, organic and dye-sensitized solar cells, as well as metastable devices cannot be characterized using standard measurement procedures. This sub-area focuses on issues related to the characterization of such devices.

Sub-Area 8.5: Performance Testing and Standards
Sub-Area Chair: William Zaaiman (EU Joint Research Center, Italy)

As installed PV power continues to expand globally, it is increasingly important to standardize measurements for determining the performance of solar cells and PV modules and systems. This sub-area also involves methods for estimating PV module and system performance over time and the measurements necessary to accomplish this task.

Area 9: PV Modules and Manufacturing

Chair: Pierre Verlinden, Trina Solar, China
Co-Chair: Joshua Stein, Sandia National Laboratories, USA

Area 9 description

Advances in PV module engineering and manufacturing have been remarkable and their impact in lowering levelized cost of energy (LCOE) is significant. The world requires safer PV modules with more embedded services, including safety switch disconnect, ground-fault protection, monitoring services, maximum power point (MPP) trackers, power optimizers or micro-inverters. New materials for PV modules are introduced on a regular basis and require new testing methods for characterization. New assembly technologies are proposed. PV module modeling is getting more sophisticated including mechanical, thermal and electrical models, sometimes combined. Customers require better energy prediction and energy rating of the modules. Papers that describe advancement in PV module design, technology and modeling to improve cost, safety, energy performance, monitoring, are sought in this Area.

Also of interest in this Area are papers related to improvements in manufacturing along the entire production chain of PV, from raw material to modules, including automation, inline monitoring, statistical process control, manufacturing plant design, cost models and cost prediction. In this particular topic, Chinese scientists and manufacturing engineers are particularly invited to submit an abstract. To facilitate their participation in Area 9 some oral sessions will be organized with translation from Chinese to English.

Sub-Area 9.1: Module Design and Assembly Technology
Sub-Area Chair: Annelene Dethlefsen (Schmid, Germany)

In Sub-Area 9.1, abstracts presenting new assembly technologies and new PV module designs will be accepted, including AR-coated glass, light trapping schemes in module, multi-wire interconnection, interconnection of backside contact cells, double glass modules, new junction box designs, etc.

Sub-Area 9.2: Smarter and Safer Modules with Optimizers and Micro-Inverters
Sub-Area Chair: Chris Deline (NREL, USA)

Papers on PV modules with embedded electronics and new concepts are accepted in Sub-Area 9.2. Safer PV modules with switch disconnect and ground-fault protection or smarter PV modules with sub-string optimizers, active by-pass diodes, DC optimizers, micro-inverter and module-level monitoring systems are the topics of this sub-area.

Sub-Area 9.3: New Materials for Module Assembly and Testing Methods
Sub-Area Chair: Scott Norquist (3M, USA)

New materials for backsheets, encapsulants, polymers for junction boxes, glass, conductive backsheets or interconnection materials are the focus of this Sub-Area 9.3, including the methods to characterize these new materials. (Reliability and reliability testing topics will be treated in Area 12).

Sub-Area 9.4: Models for PV Modules and Energy Prediction
Sub-Area Chair: Cliff Hansen (Sandia, USA)

Sub-area 9.4 focuses on PV module modeling and energy prediction. Abstracts related to mechanical, thermal and electrical modeling of PV modules will be accepted, including issues of parameter measurement for these models. Energy generation and energy rating of PV modules are also the topics of this sub-area. (Papers related to PV Systems and Applications, as well as solar resource assessment will be accepted in Area 10).

Sub-Area 9.5: Manufacturing Improvement from Raw Material to Modules
Sub-Area Chair: YingBin Zhang (Trina Solar, China)

The “Learning Curve” model predicts a cost reduction of about 20% per every doubling of the cumulative production. How is the PV industry implementing cost reductions through economies of scale, automation, statistical process control, process improvements, from raw material to modules?

Area 10: PV Systems and Applications

Chair: Greg Ball, DNV KEMA Renewables, USA
Co-Chair: Klaus Kiefer, Fraunhofer Institute, Germany

Area 10 description
Terrestrial PV systems of all sizes are a growing part of the mainstream energy economy and yet some of the most important innovations are just beginning to emerge in response to rapid changes in demand for performance, capability and safety. Meanwhile, with lowered PV module costs attention is shifted towards squeezing savings from optimized designs, balance of system components, and more efficient installation and maintenance methods. Our focus is on the various aspects of PV system installations, from performance predictions to long term maintenance, power plants to remote off-grid supplies, DC module optimizers to multi-MW inverters, and ramping signal controls to enhanced fire protection. Our four sub-areas are divided to cover resource and performance assessment, system design and implementation, component technologies, and off-grid and advanced applications. In each of these sub-areas, greatest interest is placed on completed work with validation from the field, laboratory and/or comprehensive modeling. We are particularly interested in advancements and innovation driven by utility requirements, developer demand, and changes to codes and standards requiring more sophisticated fire and safety protection. We also welcome papers covering innovation for a wide range of applications worldwide.

Sub-Area 10.1: Performance Modeling and Validation
Sub-Area Chairs: Lauren Ngan (First Solar, USA), Rhonda Bailey (DNV-KEMA Renewables, USA)

This sub-area focuses on three specific topics critical to PV project financiers: resource assessment, energy production modeling, and performance validation. We welcome papers covering innovation in irradiance measurement methods and technologies, spatial and spectral distribution, geographical variability and interpolation, forecasting, and the application of monitoring devices to best characterize system performance. We invite papers addressing innovation or improved understanding in energy production modeling - including methodology, loss factor characterization (soiling, mismatch, low-light performance, tracking, maximum power point (MPP) tracking, etc.). We also invite papers discussing improved system performance validation methods and approaches, particularly those that have demonstrated practical and cost effective implementation.

Sub-Area 10.2: Designing for Performance and Safety
Sub-Area Chairs: Mark Albers (SunPower Corporation, USA), Nicolas Bogdanski (TUV Rhineland, Germany)

In this sub-area, we encourage papers related to system design, construction and operations and maintenance (O&M), with emphasis on innovative approaches for improving the performance, safety, and protection of grid-connected PV systems. System design methodologies incorporating life cycle cost optimization and taking into account realistic construction and O&M requirements are of interest. Papers addressing innovation and progress in the area of DC-side electrical protection such as ground or arc fault detection, array isolation, and array de-energization, among others, are of great interest given the rapid changes in codes and standards resulting from system fires. Advances in O&M methods and troubleshooting related to both performance and safety are also of great interest.

Sub-Area 10.3: Power Electronics, Energy Storage and other BOS Components
Sub-Area Chairs: John Berdner (Enphase, USA), Ward Bower (Retired, Sandia National Labs, USA)

In Sub-Area 10.3 we seek papers covering advancements in the innovation and application of inverters, battery/energy storage, and other balance of system components. Recent inverter development trends include new features to meet expanding utility requirements, higher DC voltages for central and string inverters, long term reliability, and operational durability to meet demands for high DC/AC ratio plant designs. Storage technology and product development is on the rise again in response to grid stability issues for grid islands such as Puerto Rico and Hawaii. Other balance-of-system (BOS) development is ramping quickly to meet increasing demand for arc-fault and enhanced ground fault detection. We welcome papers demonstrating innovation and implementation in each of these areas. (Papers related to module embedded inverters and attached micro-inverters will be accepted in Area 9).

Sub-Area 10.4: Advanced and Off-Grid Applications
Sub-Area Chairs: Michael Schenck, (Schenck Energy, USA), Alexander Schies (Fraunhofer ISE, Germany)

In this sub-area we welcome papers covering recent advances in off-grid PV systems, hybrid systems, mini-grids, DC end-use systems, and other advanced applications. We are particularly interested in results from fielded or demonstration installations, but also welcome topics covering design and engineering advances, and results from system simulations. We welcome papers covering innovative use of PV in non-traditional applications - for product integrated PV, DC link applications such as uninterruptible power supply (UPS) or server supply systems, advanced building integrated systems, and lighting systems. Technical aspects are of interest but we also welcome papers covering socio-economic and environmental drivers for various off-grid, mini-grid or other applications important to developing countries.

Area 10 Special Session: The Future of Building Integrated Photovoltaics
Special Session Chair: Wilfried van Sark (Utrecht University, The Netherlands)

The vast majority of residential and commercial rooftop systems globally are “building-applied systems,” where PV products are mounted to existing roofs or structures. Building integrated PV, or BIPV, is the substitution of existing building materials with those containing PV, such as window glass and roofing tiles. In the U.S., BIPV is normally associated with special architectural projects: highly aesthetic demonstrations of technology such as glass facades or roofs, with similarly high levelized cost of energy. However, the market in Europe and elsewhere, fostered by additional financial incentives, has shown the real potential for cost-effectiveness, particularly in new buildings where the offset cost of conventional material purchase, transportation, and installation can be significant. The rapid market growth in net-zero buildings and energy self-sufficiency will continue to provide incentives to architects and building owners alike to find new and innovative BIPV solutions. In this special session we will have leading architects, researchers and developers briefly address the technologies seen in the market place to date, but focus primarily on newer innovations, visions for future development, and advanced analyses of the all-in cost reduction potential.

Area 11: PV Deployment

Chair: Martha Symko-Davies National Renewable Energy Laboratory, USA
Co-Chair: Michael Coddington, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, USA
Co-Chair: Sarah Truitt, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, USA
Co-Chair: Elaine Ulrich, U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), USA

Area 11 description
The power and energy environment is undergoing a radical change as the U.S. moves from traditional primary energy sources connected to an aging grid to a modernized grid that incorporates new technologies such as variable renewable energy sources. Utilities have a growing number of challenges associated with the various issues that arise under high penetration of solar systems. For example, interconnection of PV systems onto distribution systems is still a topic of enormous importance that requires further investigation. As the transformation to a modernized electric power system unfolds, utilities and the institutions that support the workforce pipeline to the power and energy sectors must evolve. Great emphasis is placed on finding ways to effectively increase the breadth of expertise engaged in PV deployment and technology support. Additionally, strategies to sustain or accelerate high growth rates and rapid cost reductions through government policy and economics are critical to the success of PV deployment.

We welcome papers describing technical advances in PV Deployment. The three sub-areas are divided into Interconnections, Workforce Development and Education, and Government Policy and Financing. Due to the multidisciplinary nature of systems research, Area 11 may host joint sessions with Area 10. Authors should submit to the area of their choice; abstracts that are relevant to two areas will be reviewed by both areas and will be considered for inclusion in all relevant sessions.

Sub-Area 11.1: Interconnections
Sub-Area Chair: Michael Coddington (National Renewable Energy Laboratory, USA)

Interconnection of photovoltaic systems onto the electric distribution systems of electric utilities is the primary focus of this area. Interconnection of PV systems onto distribution systems is still a topic in relative infancy, and the approach to this issue varies widely throughout the U.S. and the world. The focus of this sub-area will include:
interconnection issues and concerns by the Area EPS (utility); and impact studies and distribution modeling systems. Papers describing mitigation strategies for solving problems and concerns are encouraged, such as: voltage levels, protection system coordination, power quality, reliability and safety, best practices for implementing interconnection processes, case study analysis of PV systems onto the distribution system and integrating PV onto networks and other specialty distribution systems.

Sub-Area 11.2: Workforce Development and Education
Sub-Area Chair: Sarah Truitt (National Renewable Energy Laboratory, USA)

Integrating new technologies such as variable renewable energy sources, advanced communications and controls, and distributed energy storage into the existing U.S. electric power system requires new curriculum and innovative teaching techniques to be developed to address design, operation, and system integration issues. Papers are sought that address the major issues facing utility workforce planning departments and highlight new and innovative methods that incorporate hands-on learning of new technologies and approaches to grid planning and operations.

Sub-Area 11.3: Government/Policy/Financing
Sub-Area Chair: Elaine Ulrich (U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), USA)

Papers are sought that address the growing solar market, including finance, bankability, validation, siting and environmental issues, regulatory and policy engagement, and governmental programs and projects.

Area 12: Reliability of PV

Chair: Sarah Kurtz, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, USA
Co-Chair: Wei Zhou, Trina Solar, China
Co-Chair: Ralph Gottschalg, Centre for Renewable Energy Systems Technology (CREST), Loughborough University, United Kingdom

Area 12 description
As the PV industry has grown, it has become increasingly critical to have confidence in the long-term reliability and performance of the GWs of PV, representing billions of dollars or euros investment. This topic cuts across all technologies and throughout the supply chain. Topics especially critical to the success of the PV industry include: an up-to-date understanding of what is being observed for deployed products, the physics behind observed degradation/failure modes, and the quantitative correlation between accelerated test results and outcomes seen in the field as a function of site climate and installation method in order to move toward statistical service life predictions. Submissions are invited for all types of PV technologies.

This area may host joint sessions with other Areas. Authors may choose to submit to the area of their choice. Area 12 has been divided into six sub-areas, as presented below. Submission of papers on detailed scientific research studies and visionary papers addressing the full range of these topics are invited, including:

Sub-Area 12.1: Field Experience
Sub-Area Chair: Charlie Hasselbrink (SunPower, USA)

This sub-area focuses on statistics of types of failures, analysis of mechanisms of observed degradation and failures, electrical and mechanical impacts of failures, degradation models, and long-term operation models of PV plants. Submissions may include (but are not limited to) observations and analysis of observations from deployments of all PV technologies, methods of analysis of such data, and models or reviews that paint the big picture of what is happening in the field.

Sub-Area 12.2: Correlation of Accelerated Testing and Field Performance
Sub-Area Chair: Michael Kempe (National Renewable Energy Laboratory, USA, Bengt Jaeckel (Underwriters Laboratories), USA

This sub-area focuses on identification of failure and aging modes observed in the field that can be duplicated using accelerated stress tests, quantitative determination of acceleration factors for those tests, modeling of failure rates and wear-out as functions of localized weather conditions and/or accelerated stress test conditions, and fundamental physics and chemistry studies that can lead to quantitative modeling of module and device reliability and durability.

Sub-Area 12.3: Manufacturing Quality Assurance
Sub-Area Chairs: Masaaki Yamamichi (AIST, Japan), Jurgen Arp (Abastrial, Germany)

This sub-area focuses on quality management systems and elements of effective quality programs to secure manufacturing consistency. Elements may include, but are not limited to validity check of product and process design, qualification and quality control of materials and components including development of test methods and specifications, process control, in-line or off-line diagnostic techniques, product sampling/testing, warranty return experience, standardization, and other technical aspects of quality assurance programs including use of statistical quality control techniques that are needed to avoid PV product recalls/returns and provide more confidence in product performance throughout the warranty period.

Sub-Area 12.4: PV Safety Issues
Sub-Area Chair: Kent Whitfield (MEMC, USA), Chris Flueckiger (UL, USA)

This sub-area focuses on fire prevention, arc detection/mitigation, shock hazards, ground faults, mechanical integrity, and inspection procedures and other safety issues. Submissions may address identifying, mitigating or testing for the full range of safety issues at the module and/or system level.

Sub-Area 12.5: Cell Level Reliability Issues
Sub-Area Chair: Allan Ward (First Solar, USA)

This sub-area will focus on the physics of meta-stabilities and degradation, including potential induced degradation, moisture susceptibility, diffusion, electro-migration, damage induced by soldering (e.g. breakage, flux contamination), as well as device reverse-bias behavior such as hot-spot formation and breakdown, etc. Submissions are solicited both for cell level issues that are independent of packaging and for issues that must be treated by studying both packaging and cell structure at the same time.

Sub-Area 12.6: Reliability Techniques for Application to PV
Sub-Area Chairs: Vivek Gade (Jabil), Carole Graas (Colorado School of Mines, USA), Glenn Alers, (University of California, Santa Cruz)

This sub-area will provide an opportunity for reliability engineers from other disciplines to share their techniques with the PV community. Emphasis will be on techniques that help understand the diversity of stresses and conditions that are experienced by PV cells and modules and how these interact with both the packaging and the enclosed electrical systems and materials. Submissions are welcomed for the full range of component through system level testing, modeling, failure analysis, device diagnostics, metrology, and systems engineering.