Photovoltaic Portfolio | Hamad Bin Khalifa University

The Photovoltaic (PV) research portfolio at QEERI aims to develop, build, test and implement PV technologies that are customized for Qatar and the region, which will in turn assist in the large-scale deployment of solar energy in the country. 

It includes:

  • Technology Assessment
  • Technology Development

The Technology Assessment activity consists of monitoring the performance of most of the PV technologies available today, in order to identify the most suitable ones for deployment across Qatar. The input provided by QEERI after its thorough technology assessment, based on data collected over four years, has provided stakeholders with an in-depth look at how different PV technologies perform in Qatar's climate.

Technology Development activity focuses on addressing two major technical challenges related to the desert environment – a.) The design and fabrication of solar cells that perform better in Qatar's climate and b.) The reduction of the negative impact of dust and high temperature on the performance of PV panels. 

The R&D activities include the development of silicon solar of higher resistance to degradation under high temperatures and the synthesis of anti-dust coatings which help in controlling panel soiling, thus minimizing the energy loss. 

In addition, QEERI’s scientists are combining both experiments and numerical simulations to explore novel perovskite materials which are emerging as a promising alternative to silicon PV technology.

SUMMARY OF RESEARCH ACTIVITIES

  • QEERI’s PV Research Portfolio is working closely with École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) to optimize the design of crystalline silicon (c-Si) and quasi mono-Si (qm-Si) solar cells. A significant improvement of the quality of quasi-mono crystalline silicon wafer has been achieved by defect engineering paving the way for the production of solar cells of high efficiency. The scientists involved in the collaboration have already successfully designed and fabricated a silicon solar cell of 20.3% efficiency using low cost quasi-mono silicon.
  • QEERI’s scientists are collaborating with Fh-CSP to investigate module reliability including indoor testing  of PV panels at Fh-CSP, Germany, and outdoor testing at QEERI . 
  • Extensive work is being done on emerging technologies, including the development of perovskite-based solar cells, with the focus on stability, replacement of toxic element (Pb), and use of novel hole/electron transport materials. 
  • Inkjet printing technology is getting tested for device fabrication and coating synthesis. In collaboration with HZB, Germany, QEERI’s scientists are in the process of producing the first solar cells using the drop-on-demand inkjet printed functional layers with efficiencies up 11.3% using a Cu(In,Ga)(S,Se)2 absorber.
  • A series of novel materials of high potential for the design of solar cells have been identified via atomistic calculations, and attempts to synthesize some of these materials are under way. 
  • PV Simulation Code for the analysis of heterojunction solar cells based on a new algorithm is being developed. 
  • Novel anti-soiling technologies are being developed and various types of commercial anti-dust coatings are being tested in the solar testing facility (STF). 
  • Bifacial PV Panels - which produce more power because they collect the light directly hitting it as well as light reflected from the ground (albedo) – have been installed and tested, and studies are being done to analyze their yield under various conditions and optimize their configuration for a given load profile.

 

 

 

PV Performance & Reliability pillar

PV Performance & Reliability pillar aims to measure and analyze the performance and reliability of various PV technologies in order to mitigate the impact of Qatar’s climatic conditions.

Silicon Technology

Silicon Technology pillar focuses on the development of cost effective Si-solar cell with high performance in Qatar's environment, including silicon growth and device fabrication

PV Emerging Technology

PV Emerging Technology pillar focuses on fabricating perovskite based solar cells with high efficiency and improved stability, and on developing high throughput emerging environmentally friendly PV technology following the ‘thinner, faster, efficient and low-cost’ roadmap.

PARTNERSHIPS & COLLABORATIONS

Qatar Solar Technologies (QSTec)

QEERI has developed close contacts with Qatar Solar Technologies (QSTec) in order to identify research topics of common interest. QEERI plans to use silicon produced by QSTec to design and fabricate wafers and cells of high performance.

Fraunhofer Center for Silicon Photovoltaics (CSP)

QEERI and EPFL (Switzerland) established a strong partnership to design and produce silicon solar cells that perform better in the desert environment and to develop the emerging Perovskite-based PV technology. 

École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), Switzerland

QEERI and Fraunhofer Center for Silicon Photovoltaics (CSP), Germany are working together on improving Silicon panel reliability by carrying out outdoor testing in QEERI's solar test facility as well as indoor testing in Germany.