Description of field of research:

The purpose of this project is to improve modelling of ultra-high efficiency silicon pv modules in energy yield simulations. This will i) allow a proper evaluation of the economic and technical targets for these modules to reach in production and ii) Provide confidence for end users considering these products.

As heterojunction solar cells approach theoretical limits of silicon performance they are testing common assumptions used in yield modelling calculations. For simulation packages such as PVSyst, SAM and pvlib module I-V characteristics are usually described using a single diode model or equivalent, with no consideration of injection level dependence. Recent results on heterojunction cells have demonstrated that under high-injection conditions the cell fill factor can be greatly enhanced, due to a shift in dominant recombination mechanisms from n=1 processes (SRH recombination) to n=2/3 (Auger). If this is not considered the performance of ultra-high efficiency modules will be underestimated in simulation programs.

This TOR project will evaluate current models present in the pvlib-python package against first principles calculations and identify potential alternatives. While experience in python programming would be beneficial, it is not essential as the student will be guided to improve their programming skills.


Photovoltaic and Renewable Energy Engineering

Research areas

Photovoltaics, PV Simulation, Python programming, High Efficiency Photovoltaics

The student will work closely with UNSW researchers at SPREE (Dr Phillip Hamer and Dr Brendan Wright) and industrial partners at SunDrive Solar, who aim to produce ultra-high efficiency modules in Australia. As the vast majority of the project is computer based there will be the opportunity to work from home 2-3 days a week.

  • Quantification of differences between first principles calculations and model outputs at a range of temperatures and illumination intensities
  • Literature review of alternative simulation models available

The Student will:

  • gain experience with python programming and simulation of PV systems
  • learn how to accurately model pv systems and perform LCOE analysis
  • gain experience in an industry focussed research environment

Martin Green's Seminar on high efficiency HJT cells:


SunDrive Solar:


PV Modelling Collaborative