A record efficiency colorful photovoltaic module has been developed at University of Twente. For this luminescent solar concentrator based device an efficiency of 5.8% was obtained. The device combines plastic colored plates with silicon solar cells on the back and is designed for integration in roofs.

Last week at the international PVSEC-26 conference in Singapore, Angèle Reinders, associate professor at University of Twente, reported an efficiency of 5.8 % for a medium sized luminescent solar concentrator PV module of the type LeafRoof. Reinders: “We are extremely satisfied with this highly efficient and colorful solar module, and expect this to be taken up by architects very soon”. This so-called LSC PV module has been developed at University of Twente in collaboration with SEAC. It consists of a PMMA (Perspex) front sheet of 0.11 m2 which contains a red Lumogen dye and silicon solar cells attached to the back. Its efficiency has been measured by an independent laboratory. Besides a red, also a green PV module has been evaluated with an efficiency of 5.5 %. Both efficiencies surpass previously reported values considerably.

An LSC is usually comprised of a transparent, thin plastic plate acting as a light guide with a large surface area. The light guide contains luminescent pigments, usually called a ‘dye’, resulting in spectral conversion of the incoming irradiance. The light is concentrated to the sides and bottom due to total internal reflections as the light guide consists of a material with a refractive index higher than air. Much research is being undertaken to increase the device efficiency by optimizing the apparent color of the plates.

The attractiveness of the design in terms of color and freedom of form makes LSC PV modules excellent candidates for Building Integrated Photovoltaics, since roofs as well as entire façades including windows can be designed using these modules. In the Netherlands a large consortium of academic and industry partners, led by Wilfried van Sark of Utrecht University, is conducting research on LSC power façades.

For more information please contact Angèle Reinders at a.h.m.e.reinders@utwente.nl