Research Topic

Transparent Photovoltaics: Current Status and Prospects for Energy-Efficient Windows and Beyond

About this Research Topic

Evidence of human-driven climate change has, in recent decades, triggered research on energy production from renewable sources. Photovoltaic technologies, which harness energy from the Sun, provide the largest share of renewable energy in many parts of the world. Thin-film photovoltaic technologies have been researched for several decades and have seen a steady increase in the market share. An emerging variant of thin-film photovoltaics is Transparent Photovoltaics (TPV) – which are designed not to absorb the maximum possible incident radiation but to allow visible light to go through and convert the rest to electricity. The performance metric is not just the efficiency but also the product of efficiency and visible transparency. One of the applications of TPV is to utilize the otherwise unused vertical walls and generate electricity for buildings that consume the majority of electricity worldwide. Without creating an additional footprint, TPV has the potential to provide simultaneous natural light and meet a good part of the ever-increasing energy demand of buildings.

In this Research Topic, our goal is to collect articles on the development of transparent photovoltaics for various applications such as in building windows.

The Research Topic will cover a wide range of topics on TPV from theoretical studies (i.e. thermodynamic limits, material simulation, physics of wavelength-selective absorption) to fabrication of TPV based on various materials and device structures. For non-wavelength-selective TPV, the absorber layer thickness is significantly smaller than conventional thin-film solar cells. At this thickness range, several challenges such as numerous grain boundaries and interface defects emerge. For wavelength-selective TPV, short diffusion length in organic materials often becomes the bottleneck. Studies on experimental techniques to address these challenges and improve its performance metrics, i.e. efficiency, visible transparency, color neutrality, thermal properties, and environmental susceptibility will also be within scope of this Research Topic.

The Research Topic welcomes submissions (both Original Research and Review) along the following themes:
1. Theoretical and experimental study of different materials and device structures for both wavelength-selective and non-wavelength-selective transparent or semi-transparent photovoltaics. Studies on material aspects, carrier transport, and device design will be considered.
2. Study of transparent photovoltaics based on c-silicon, CIGS, CdTe, perovskite, a-silicon, organic semiconductors, etc.
3. First-principles density functional theory simulations of organic semiconductors for wavelength-selective transparent photovoltaics, with high transparency in the visible range and high absorption outside the visible range.
4. Techniques to address challenges associated with TPV, e.g. development of ultra-thin yet high-quality absorbers, large-scale transparent electrodes, reduce reflection losses due to oblique incidence, reduce environmental degradation and enhance lifetime.
5. Development of transparent Luminescent Solar Concentrators (LSC) and scattering concentrators.
6. Performance estimate of semi-transparent photovoltaics in building windows. This can include power generation estimates in the vertical orientation and building energy simulation.
7. Novel applications of TPV such as automobiles, electronic displays, and integration with smart window technologies (electrochromic windows).


Keywords: transparent photovoltaics, thin-film solar cell, energy-efficient windows, optoelectronics, green building


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

Evidence of human-driven climate change has, in recent decades, triggered research on energy production from renewable sources. Photovoltaic technologies, which harness energy from the Sun, provide the largest share of renewable energy in many parts of the world. Thin-film photovoltaic technologies have been researched for several decades and have seen a steady increase in the market share. An emerging variant of thin-film photovoltaics is Transparent Photovoltaics (TPV) – which are designed not to absorb the maximum possible incident radiation but to allow visible light to go through and convert the rest to electricity. The performance metric is not just the efficiency but also the product of efficiency and visible transparency. One of the applications of TPV is to utilize the otherwise unused vertical walls and generate electricity for buildings that consume the majority of electricity worldwide. Without creating an additional footprint, TPV has the potential to provide simultaneous natural light and meet a good part of the ever-increasing energy demand of buildings.

In this Research Topic, our goal is to collect articles on the development of transparent photovoltaics for various applications such as in building windows.

The Research Topic will cover a wide range of topics on TPV from theoretical studies (i.e. thermodynamic limits, material simulation, physics of wavelength-selective absorption) to fabrication of TPV based on various materials and device structures. For non-wavelength-selective TPV, the absorber layer thickness is significantly smaller than conventional thin-film solar cells. At this thickness range, several challenges such as numerous grain boundaries and interface defects emerge. For wavelength-selective TPV, short diffusion length in organic materials often becomes the bottleneck. Studies on experimental techniques to address these challenges and improve its performance metrics, i.e. efficiency, visible transparency, color neutrality, thermal properties, and environmental susceptibility will also be within scope of this Research Topic.

The Research Topic welcomes submissions (both Original Research and Review) along the following themes:
1. Theoretical and experimental study of different materials and device structures for both wavelength-selective and non-wavelength-selective transparent or semi-transparent photovoltaics. Studies on material aspects, carrier transport, and device design will be considered.
2. Study of transparent photovoltaics based on c-silicon, CIGS, CdTe, perovskite, a-silicon, organic semiconductors, etc.
3. First-principles density functional theory simulations of organic semiconductors for wavelength-selective transparent photovoltaics, with high transparency in the visible range and high absorption outside the visible range.
4. Techniques to address challenges associated with TPV, e.g. development of ultra-thin yet high-quality absorbers, large-scale transparent electrodes, reduce reflection losses due to oblique incidence, reduce environmental degradation and enhance lifetime.
5. Development of transparent Luminescent Solar Concentrators (LSC) and scattering concentrators.
6. Performance estimate of semi-transparent photovoltaics in building windows. This can include power generation estimates in the vertical orientation and building energy simulation.
7. Novel applications of TPV such as automobiles, electronic displays, and integration with smart window technologies (electrochromic windows).


Keywords: transparent photovoltaics, thin-film solar cell, energy-efficient windows, optoelectronics, green building


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

27 September 2021 Abstract
25 January 2022 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

27 September 2021 Abstract
25 January 2022 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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