Characterization of photovoltaic devices for indoor light harvesting and customization of flexible dye solar cells to deliver superior efficiency under artificial lighting
Francesca De Rossi, Tadeo Pontecorvo, Thomas M. Brown
The field of energy harvesting holds the promise of making our buildings "smart" if effective energy sources can be developed for use in ambient indoor conditions. Photovoltaics (PV), especially in its thin flexible form for easy integration, become a prime candidate for the aim, if tailored for low-density artificial light.We designed a test system which enabled us to measure the performance of PV devices under compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) and light-emitting diode (LED) illumination at different illuminance levels and compared polycrystalline and amorphous silicon cells with our own flexible dye solar cells (DSCs). Whereas poly-Si cells, with 15% outdoor efficiency, delivered at 200lux under CFL only 2.8μW/cm2 power density (and an efficiency of 4.4%), a-Si specifically designed for indoors, gave 5.9μW/cm2 and 9.2% efficiency under the same CFL conditions (and 7.5% efficiency under LED).However, we show that the customization of flexible DSCs, by simply formulating ad-hoc less-concentrated, more transparent electrolytes, enabled these devices to outperform all others, providing average power densities of 8.0μW/cm2 and 12.4% efficiencies under 200lux CFL (more than quadruple compared to those measured at 1sun), and 6.6μW/cm2 and 10% efficiency under 200lux LED illumination.
Applied Energy 156:413-422. 2015