Luminescent Solar Concentrators – a low cost photovoltaics alternative
Copernicus Institute, Utrecht University, Budapestlaan 6, 3584, CD Utrecht, the Netherlands
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Luminescent solar concentrators (LSCs) are being developed as a potentially low cost-per-Wp photovoltaic device, suited for applications especially in the built environment. LSCs generally consist of transparent polymer sheets doped with luminescent species, either organic dye molecules or semiconductor nanocrystals. Direct and diffuse incident sunlight is absorbed by the luminescent species and emitted at redshifted wavelengths with high quantum efficiency. Optimum design ensures that a large fraction of emitted light is trapped in the sheet, which travels to the edges where it can be collected by one or more mono- or bifacial solar cells, with minimum losses due to absorption in the sheet and re-absorption by the luminescent species. Today’s record efficieny is 7%, however, 10-15% is within reach. Optimized luminescent solar concentrators potentially offer lower cost per unit of power compared to conventional solar cells. Moreover, LSCs have an increased conversion efficiency for overcast and cloudy sky conditions, having a large fraction of diffuse irradiation, which is blueshifted compared to clear sky conditions. As diffuse irradiation conditions are omnipresent throughout mid- and northern-European countries, annual performance of LSCs is expected to be better in terms of kWh/Wp compared to conventional PV.
© Owned by the authors, published by EDP Sciences, 2012