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Thin film cadmium telluride solar cells on ultra‐thin glass in low earth orbit—3 years of performance data on the AlSat‐1N CubeSat mission
Progress in Photovoltaics: Research and Applications, Volume: 29, Issue: 9, Pages: 1000 - 1007
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This paper details 3 years of cadmium telluride (CdTe) photovoltaic performance onboard the AlSat‐1N CubeSat in low earth orbit. These are the first CdTe solar cells to yield I–V measurements from space and help to strengthen the argument for further development of this technology for space applicat...
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This paper details 3 years of cadmium telluride (CdTe) photovoltaic performance onboard the AlSat‐1N CubeSat in low earth orbit. These are the first CdTe solar cells to yield I–V measurements from space and help to strengthen the argument for further development of this technology for space application. The data have been collected over some 17 000 orbits by the CubeSat with the cells showing no signs of delamination, no deterioration in short circuit current or series resistance. The latter indicating that the aluminium‐doped zinc oxide transparent front electrode performance remained stable over the duration. Effects of temperature on open circuit voltage (Voc) were observed with a calculated temperature coefficient for Voc of −0.19%/°C. Light soaking effects were also observed to increase the Voc. The fill factor decreased over the duration of the mission with a major contribution being a decrease in shunt resistance of all four of the cells. The decrease in shunt resistance is speculated to result from gold diffusion from the rear contacts into the absorber and through to the front interface. This has likely resulted in the formation of a deep trap state within the CdTe and micro shunts formed between the rear and front contact. Further development of this technology should therefore utilise more stable back contacting methodologies more commonly employed for terrestrial CdTe modules.
cadmium telluride; cadmium telluride; cover glass; MOCVD; space solar cells
College of Engineering