Photovoltaics for space applications
Carsten Baur a
a European Space Agency, Netherlands
Proceedings of New Generation Photovoltaics for Space (PVSPACE)
Online, Spain, 2022 June 21st - 22nd
Organizers: Narges Yaghoobi Nia, Aldo Di Carlo, Luigi Schirone and Mahmoud Zendehdel
Keynote, Carsten Baur, presentation 011
Publication date: 8th June 2022

Photovoltaics for space applications has to fulfill a number of very stringent requirements. On the one hand the space environment is characterised by specific features that are very different from terrestrial applications, such as extreme temperatures (high and low), numerous thermal cycles between those extremes, high UV light content and particle irradiation. Thus, solar cells for space applications have to demonstrate that they are robust towards these environmental conditions. Furthermore, there is usually no possibility to repair solar arrays once they are launched. This places very strict requirements to the reliability of solar cells. Durability within the space environment and reliability are topics that are covered by extensive qualification campaigns on ground. The presentation will address these key requirements and how they are validated by introducing the standards applicable to space photovoltaics, i.e. the ECSS (European Cooperation for Space Standardization) series. Furthermore, also in space as it is for terrestrial applications, cost is a driver for space photovoltaics. However, the cost of the solar cell is only one part in the equation. What in the end matters, is the system level cost. It will be explained that for new technologies to be competitive with existing III-V multi-junction cell technology it is very likely that a minimum performance of clearly above 20% end of life is required. Finally, the  European space solar cell roadmap will be introduced.

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