Journal article

Integration of dye solar cells in load- bearing translucent glass fiber- reinforced polymer laminates

The encapsulation of dye solar cells in translucent, structural and lightweight glass fiber-reinforced polymer laminates was investigated with a view to designing multifunctional envelopes for daylit buildings. Small and large integrating sphere experiments and solar radiation experiments were performed to determine the light transmittance of the laminates and the electrical efficiency of the encapsulated cells. An overall cell efficiency of 3.9% (before encapsulation) only decreased to 3.4% after encapsulation below laminates of around 3-mm thickness. Thermal cycle experiments and finite element analysis allowed the thermal performance of the encapsulation for two types of cell substrates (glass and acrylic polymer) to be evaluated. Contrary to glass substrates, no delaminations were observed on acrylic substrates after 300 h of cycles +60/-20 degrees C. A design for integrating dye solar cells into multifunctional sandwich building envelopes is proposed. A light transmittance of around 0.35 was estimated through a sandwich envelope with cell modules occupying 50% of the external face sheet. Research on the manufacturability of cells on polymeric substrates is encouraged.


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