Efficiency of solar energy conversion at maximum power

Bart Cleuren, Hasselt University, Belgium

The efficiency of a nano sized solar cell is investigated within the framework of irreversible thermodynamics. The conversion efficiency is strongly determined by the so-called degree of coupling between the heat and electrical flows. In the ideal situation, when non-radiative recombination processes are ignored, the fluxes are perfectly coupled and the efficiency at maximum power approaches the Curzon-Ahlborn result. When non-radiative recombination processes are taken into account, the perfect coupling condition is lost, and the efficiency is strongly reduced.