Thin film Si solar cell and solid oxide fuel cell technologies for a low cost, environmentally friendly and sustainable source of energy

Thin-film solar cell technology based on hydrogenated amorphous silicon has
matured over the last two decades and is capable to deliver commercial modules with
almost 10 % stabilized efficiency. Moreover attention on hydrogen fuel cells is increasing
as the range of potential commercial applications expands, with more than 3800 fuel cell
systems being installed and operated worldwide. These systems attain high theoretical
efficiencies in the range of 43.7-70.4 %, with an additional 20% as heat recovery, and
operating at carbon-free conditions between 50 °C and 900 °C. In this paper the status of
thin-film silicon solar cell technology is reviewed by comparing it to other major solar
cell technologies. A discussion is also made upon the benefits obtained from the few
potential applications, as long-term potential actions for sustainable development, and
the future of Solid Oxide Fuel Cells (SOFCs). Applications of thin-film silicon modules
and SOFCs are presented. EPIA (European Photovoltaic Industry Association) estimates
that half of the growth in the next two years will come from thin-film technology.

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