Photonics for innovative light management in photovoltaic modules (PhiliP)

As part of a multi-year research project, JOANNEUM RESEARCH - MATERIALS and NanoTecCenter Weiz are working on innovative approaches to increase the efficiency of photovoltaic modules.

Through this project, it will become possible to capture energy from sunlight that normally shines on inactive module surfaces. For this purpose, photonic structures will be developed that are incorporated into photovoltaic modules. These structures are designed to direct light onto active solar cell areas and, thus, improve the overall efficiency of the whole module.


Optical losses in a photovoltaic module

  • A significant amount of sunlight that shines on the module surface is not used
  • About 10 - 15% of the module surface is not covered with solar cells
  • Approximately 7 - 9% of the solar cell surface is shaded by electrodes


Project goal

  • Photonic structures will be developed specifically for use in photovoltaic modules
  • Light will be directed specifically toward the active solar cell surface
  • Optical losses will be halved
  • Module power will be increased by 10%
  • Module efficiency will be increased by 1.5%  

Applied methods and processes

  • Optical simulation (ray tracing and FDTD)
  • Femtosecond laser structuring
  • Laser lithography
  • Nanoimprint lithography
  • Roll-to-roll production
  • Ink-jet printing

Project results

  • Mini modules with and without photonic structures
  • Evaluation of the researched concepts (Proof of Concept)
  • Generation of expertise for further product and process development