Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Sandia National Laboratories have initiated a collaboration on Wafer-Level Integrated Concentrating Photovoltaics that reduces the complexity of tracking needs. The team’s innovative approach uses wafer-level micro-concentrators to significantly enhance sunlight concentration onto high-performance III-V micro-PV cells. The concentrator is also a diffuse solar radiation collector, allowing the technology to operate in regions with high levels of diffuse sunlight. The team will use standard semiconductor processes to fabricate the system, ensuring high-precision, yet low-cost manufacturing. The Wafer-Level Integrated Concentrating Photovoltaics is one of 11 projects funded by ARPA-e under the Micro-scale Optimized Solar-cell Arrays with Integrated Concentration (MOSAIC) program. The project also builds upon Sandia’s prior work in the microsystems-enabled photovoltaics (MEPV) Grand Challenge.
The MOSAIC program focuses on the design of technologies and concepts for a new class of cost-effective, high-performance micro-scale concentrating PV (micro-CPV) technologies integrated into “flat plate” solar panels to improve their efficiency and cost. This micro-CPV approach addresses the constraints of conventional CPV, which, while highly efficient, has not been widely adopted due to its high cost, large size, and expensive solar tracking systems. Project teams will address these limitations by developing innovative materials, micro-scale manufacturing techniques, panel architectures, and tracking schemes. The MOSAIC program also includes a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) award category.