Description of field of research:

There is a massive increase in the number of missions in space. Each of these needs between 1 kW and 4 kW of photovoltaic solar cells. The current triple junction III-V solar cells are very efficient but ridiculously expensive (>$250/W). The project will look at the options to transfer technology from terrestrial silicon cells ($0.20/W) to space cells, thus reducing the cost significantly. But to do this ways must be found to increase the tolerance to electron and proton radiation in space that dramatically decrease the lifetime of silicon cells. Various approaches for this will be investigated in the project, with opportunities to test cells at terrestrial radiation facilities and possibly in occasional space based experiments.


Photovoltaic and Renewable Energy Engineering

Research areas

Photovoltaics, Space Applications, Ionising radiation effect on solar cells

SPREE has the facilities to manufacture, modify and characterise silicon solar cells. There are collaborations with ANSTO, TU Delft and ACSER for irradiation and other space simulation experiments. There are a number of research programs on space solar cells in SPREE.

To improve the tolerance to space radiation of silicon solar cells.

  1. Masafumi Yamaguchi, Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells 68(1):31-53, Radiation-resistant solar cells for space use. DOI:10.1016/S0927-0248(00)00344-5
  2. R. L. Easton and M. J. Votaw, ""Vanguard I IGY Satellite (1958 Beta),"" Review of Scientific Instruments, vol. 30, no. 2, pp. 70-75, 1959, doi: 10.1063/1.1716492.
  3. D. J. FLOOD, ""Space Photovoltaics – History, Progress and Promise,"" Modern Physics Letters B, vol. 15, no. 17n19, pp. 561-570, 2001, doi: 10.1142/s0217984901002038.
  4. Li, G, Hoex, B, Conibeer, G, Toth, P, Silicon Solar Cells for Low Earth Orbit Applications, abstract at APSRC (Dec 2022)