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United States Patent Application

View the Complete Application at the US Patent & Trademark Office
According to some embodiments, the present invention provides a novel photovoltaic solar cell system from photovoltaic modules that are vertically arrayed in a stack format using thin film semiconductors selected from among organic and inorganic thin film semiconductors. The stack cells may be cells that are produced in a planar manner, then vertically oriented in an angular form, also termed herein tilted, to maximize the light capturing aspects. The use of a stack configuration system as described herein allows for the use of a variety of electrode materials, such as transparent materials or semitransparent metals. Light concentration can be achieved by using fresnel lens, parabolic mirrors or derivatives of such structures. The light capturing can be controlled by being reflected back and forth in the photovoltaic system until significant quantities of the resonant light is absorbed. Light that passes to the very end and can be reflected back through the device by beveling or capping the end of the device with a different refractive index material, or alternatively using a reflective surface. The contacting between stacked cells can be done in series or parallel. According to some embodiments, the present invention uses a concentrator architecture where the light is channeled into the cells that contain thermal fluid channels (using a transparent fluid such as water) to absorb and hence reduce the thermal energy generation.
Curran, Seamus (Houston, TX), Dias, Sampath (Houston, TX), Liao, Kang-Shyang (Houston, TX), Yambem, Soniya Devi (Houston, TX), Haldar, Amrita (Houston, TX), Alley, Nigel (Houston, TX)
University of Houston (Houston TX)
12/ 975,038
December 21, 2010
GOVERNMENTAL SPONSORSHIP [0002] The U.S. Government has a paid-up license in this invention and the rights in limited circumstances to require the patent owners to license others on reasonable terms as provided for by the terms of grant No. DE-FG36-08G088008 awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy.