5. 4 Concentrators, PV for Space Applications, and TPV
Summary / Abstract:
One of the many applications for III-V semiconductors is in the space photovoltaics industry. Spacecraft such as satellites currently make use of high-cost, high eciency, III-V, multi-junction solar arrays to provide power for their payloads. These multi-junction arrays degrade considerably when exposed to damaging radiation outside of the Earth's atmosphere. This means they are often covered in a layer of rigid protective glass to shield from the bombardment of electrons and protons. Ultra-thin solar cells (UTSC) are proposed as an enabling technology due to their intrinsic radiation tolerance  and potential for exible form factors which are advantages over the current industry standard. With increased radiation tolerance it would be possible to reduce or even eliminate protective cover-glass which would decrease weight and therefore decrease launch costs. However, UTSCs absorb less light due to their shorter optical path-length. This necessitates light-trapping structures integrated into the design.