Prof Allen BARNETT

Prof Allen BARNETT

University of New South Wales, Australia

Ultra-thin Silicon Solar Cell for Lightweight Steel Roofs 

The majority of commercial roofs in Australia and 40% of those USA are made of thin steel sheeting that is not structurally capable of supporting the weight of conventional glass-based PV modules. We are developing a building-integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) roofing material to be factory integrated with low cost steel roofs for commercial buildings. This roofing product is based on the Ultra-Thin Silicon on steel (UTSi) solar cell, fabricated via epitaxial growth of a thin layer of monocrystalline silicon grown on porous silicon. This work has been done in collaboration with AmberWave, Inc. Verified efficiencies of up to 16.8% on 4 cm2 devices and 15.9% on 90 cm2 devices have been demonstrated to date, both with an active layer thickness of just 18 µm. The near term solar cell efficiency potential of the UTSi solar cell is well above 20%.  Details of the solar cell and its value when applied to a steel roof component will be described. 


Allen Barnett is Professor of Advanced Photovoltaics in the School of Photovoltaics and Renewable Energy Engineering (SPREE) at UNSW, Australia. He also serves as Deputy Head of School (Strategy) for SPREE.  His research is focused on new high efficiency solar cell modules; thin crystalline silicon (20+%) and tandem solar cells on silicon (30+%).  Previously, he joined the University of Delaware (UD) in 1976 as Director of the Institute of Energy Conversion and Professor of Electrical Engineering. He left UD in 1993 to devote full time to AstroPower which became the largest independent solar cell manufacturer and the 4th largest in the World. He returned to UD in 2003.