Effect of temperature on the current-voltage characteristics of a

**solar cell**

Temperature affects the characteristic equation in two ways: directly, via

*T*in the exponential term, and indirectly via its effect on

*I*(strictly speaking, temperature affects all of the terms, but these two far more significantly than the others). While increasing

_{0}*T*reduces the magnitude of the exponent in the characteristic equation, the value of

*I*increases exponentially with

_{0}*T*. The net effect is to

reduce

*V*(the open-circuit voltage) linearly with increasing temperature. The magnitude of this reduction is inversely proportional to

_{OC}*V*; that is, cells with higher values of

_{OC}*V*suffer smaller reductions in voltage with increasing temperature. For most crystalline silicon solar cells the change in

_{OC}*V*with temperature is about -0.50%/°C, though the rate for the highest-efficiency crystalline silicon cells is around -0.35%/°C. By way of comparison, the rate for amorphous

_{OC}**silicon solar cells**is -0.20%/°C to -0.30%/°C, depending on how the cell is made.

The amount of photogenerated current

*I*increases slightly with increasing temperature because of an increase in the number of thermally generated carriers in the cell. This effect is slight, however: about 0.065%/°C for crystalline silicon cells and 0.09% for amorphous silicon cells.

_{L}The overall effect of temperature on cell efficiency can be computed using these factors in combination with the characteristic equation. However, since the change in voltage is much stronger than the change in current, the overall effect on efficiency tends to be similar to that on voltage. Most crystalline

**silicon solar cells**decline in efficiency by 0.50%/°C and most amorphous cells decline by 0.15-0.25%/°C. The figure above shows I-V curves that might typically be seen for a crystalline silicon solar cell at various temperatures.

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