Universidad Politécnica de Madrid

Instituto de energía solar

R&D at IES

Space solar cells


As in concentrator solar cells, the efficiency increase is a must in space solar cells. Therefore, we are developing new architectures beyond the workhorse lattice-matched GaInP/GaInAs/Ge triple junction solar cells. Special emphasis we are devoting to dilute nitride lattice matched and metamorphic architectures. In these approaches, the good quality material with low defect densities is essential (see figure 1). Space solar cells not only have to exhibit a high efficiency but they be as robust as possible against the radiation damage. This is why we also develops an intense activity in the analysis of the damage caused by proton irradiation and the ways to minimize its deleterious impact.

We also work on fiber-based optical powering (or power-by-light) systems suitable for space applications. For example, we have developed a prototype to power a shunt regulator for controlling the activation and deactivation of solar panels in satellites. Our experience involves the manufacture of the light receiver (multiple photovoltaic converter, able to supply several volts), the power conditioning block, and the regulator. Our best system exhibit an optoelectronic efficiency (including the optical fiber, connectors, and MPC) of 27% was at an output power of 1 W. The multiple photovoltaic converter has an active area of just 3.1 mm2, and was able to supply 1 W at 5 V with an efficiency of 30% (see figure 2). The maximum measured device efficiency was over 40% at an input power (Pin) of 0.5 W.


Contact person: Prof. Carlos Algora 

Selected publications

  1. M. Ochoa, I. García, I. Lombardero, L. Ayllón, L. Cifuentes, I. Rey-Stolle, C. Algora, A. D. Johnson, J. I. Davies, K.H. Tan, W.K. Loke, S. Wicaksono, S.F. Yoon, E. Ochoa, M. Gabás, T. Thomas, N. J. Ekins-Daukes, H. García, H. Castan, S. Dueñas, S. Estradé and F. Peiró, “Advances Towards 4J Lattice-Matched Dilute Nitride Solar Cells For Terrestrial And Space Applications”, in Proceedings of 3rd World Conference on Photovoltaic Energy Conversion, in press (2017)

  2. M. Ochoa, E Yaccuzzi, P Espinet-González, M Barrera, E Barrigón, ML Ibarra, Yedileth Contreras, J García, E López, M Alurralde, C Algora, E Godfrin, I Rey-Stolle, J Plá., “10MeV proton irradiation effects on GaInP/GaAs/Ge concentrator solar cells and their component subcells”, Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells 159, pp. 576-582 (2017)

  3. R. Peña and C. Algora, “One‐watt fiber‐based power‐by‐light system for satellite applications”, Progress in Photovoltaics 21, Vol. 1, pp. 117–123 (2012 ) (DOI: 10.1002/pip.1130)

  4. R. Peña, C. Algora and I. Antón, “GaAs multiple photovoltaic converters with an efficiency of 45% for monochromatic illumination”, in Proceedings of 3rd World Conference on Photovoltaic Energy Conversion, Volume: 1 (2003) (DOI: 10.1109/WCPEC.2003.1305263)


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