Heat generation and mitigation in silicon solar cells and modules

by Lujia Xu, Whenzu Liu, Haohui Liu, Cangming Ke, Mingcong Wang, Chenlin Zhang, Erkan Aydin, Mohammed Al-Aswad, Konstantinos Kotsovos, Issam Gereige, Ahmed Al-Saggaf, Aqil Jamal, Xinbo Yang, Peng Wang, Frédéric Laquai, Thomas G. Allen, Stefaan De Wolf
Article Year: 2021 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.joule.2021.01.012


Xu, L., Liu, W., Liu, H., Ke, C., Wang, M., Zhang, C., Aydin, E., Al-Aswad, M., Kotsovos, K., Gereige, I., Al-Saggaf, A., Jamal, A., Yang, X., Wang, P., Laquai, F., Allen, T. G., De Wolf, S.  Heat generation and mitigation in silicon solar cells and modules. Joule (2021).| 

Extra Information

This study, which came out in Joule, reveals that once the PCE approaches a practical upper limit, work on the control and mitigation of the module temperature can be equally or even more significant than costly marginal gains in PCE.


Cost-effective photovoltaics (PVs) require a high energy yield with a long system lifetime. However, both are adversely affected by temperature. Here, we assess the economic impact of thermal effects on PV systems by establishing a temperature-dependent levelized cost of energy (LCOE) model. Using this model, we introduce an equivalent ratio g (with the unit of absolute efficiency %/K) as a new metric that quantitatively translates the LCOE gain obtained by reducing the module temperature (Tmod) to an equivalent absolute power conversion efficiency increase. The substantial value of g motivates us to investigate the root causes of heating in solar cells and modules, with a focus on crystalline-Si (c-Si) PVs, given its market dominance. To link the heat analysis with Tmod, we establish and validate an opto-electronically coupled thermal model to predict Tmod. This modeling approach enables the quantification of possible ways to mitigate undesired heating effects.


Temperature-dependent levelized cost of energy (LCOE) Heating photovoltaic Module temperature Equivalent ratio Opto-electronically coupled thermal model