Prof Miro ZEMAN

Prof Miro ZEMAN

Head of the Electrical Sustainable Energy Department
Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands

Thin-Film Silicon for High-Efficiency PV Technologies

Thin-film silicon (TF-Si) solar-cell technology is a mature PV technology that can deliver low-cost solar electricity. A drawback of this technology is a low efficiency of commercial modules that varies between 6 and 11%. In last years this drawback has significantly reduced a number of companies that were manufacturing TF Si modules for large-scale generation of electricity. However, meanwhile still a lot of effort has been spent on improving light management, materials, and interface properties in TF-Si solar cells that has resulted single- and multi- junction solar cells with record high performances. The possibility to manufacture lightweight, flexible, and customized TF Si modules offers a variety of built-integrated applications. Examples of flexible TF-Si module applications will be presented.

TF Si layers proved to play an important role in improving performance of other solar cell technologies. Crystalline silicon (c-Si) wafer-based PV technology is an excellent example. Applying TF-Si layers in c-Si solar cells has strongly contributed to reaching record efficiencies. C-Si solar cell structures containing TF-Si layers such as heterojunction or TOPcon structures will be presented and the role of TF-Si layers explained. By developing and applying a stack of a tunneling dielectric layer with TF-Si-based passivating contacts a flat IBC c-Si solar cell was fabricated at TU Delft with an efficiency above 21%.

Since the band gap of TF Si-based layers can be varied in a broad range from 1.1 eV to 2.0 eV they can be readily used as absorber materials in hybrid multi-junction solar cells. Hybrid multi-junction solar cells are considered as a strong candidate for demonstrating efficiency beyond the efficiencies of best c-Si solar cells. Different hybrid multi-junction solar cells containing TF Si absorbers will be presented and the advantages of these cells discussed. 


Prof. Miro Zeman is head of the Electrical Sustainable Energy department at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands. He leads the Photovoltaic Materials and Devices group that focuses on improving silicon-based solar cells by developing and applying new materials and concepts for light management.

Prof. Zeman earned his Ph.D. degree in Materials Science at Slovak University of Technology in Bratislava, Slovakia. He joined Delft University of Technology in 1990 and was appointed full professor for Photovoltaic Materials and Devices in 2009.