Solar exposures

The silhouette of a wind turbine is visible through dye-sensitised solar cells at our CSIRO site in Newcastle. This 20 kW turbine is one of two that help power our office and lab buildings. The stained-glass-like solar cells form part of a wall in the office atrium. You can read more about our research in dye-sensitised photovoltaics here.

Photo: Sam West, CSIRO.

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2 Comments on “Solar exposures”

  1. Jack Ellis says:

    How would these cells perform under tropical conditions with relatively high ambient temperatures (well over the present ‘ideal’ 25 degrees)?

    Will high humidity be a problem?

    Existing PV units are difficult to adapt to cyclone building requirements. Any idea how these could be adapted to 70 m/sec wind requirements?

    Happy to be part of a tropical trial if required.

    • Dr Gregory Wilson says:

      Hi Jack, thanks for your interest in our research and DSC performance in tropical climates. The ideal temperture you refer to is, in fact, a part of a standardised protocol – they never really intend to reflect real application conditons, just provide a way of comparison under defined criteria. Considering some of the aspects likely to be experienced in tropical regions:

      Temperature – any PV cells run hotter when the ambient temperature is higher. This is a benefit to DSC when compared with crystalline silicon, since the DSC actually has a positive temperature coefficient, i.e. performance goes up with temperature (to a point, of course).

      Humidity – there is still some uncertainty around the role of atmospheric humidity in accelerating the degradation of today’s PV modules. At present, the DSC uses glass for both the back and front side during fabrication; glass is an exceptional encapsulant, and so any extra degradation caused by humidity is likely to be less for a DSC. The glass-glass design may not be that way in a final product however.

      Wind – That is an issue for the way the PV modules are mounted and is reasonably independent of the technology. DSC modules would be mounted/secured in much the same way as other PV products already in your area; look around on a few rooftops and you’ll see what I mean.

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