Universal statistics of parasitic shunt formation in solar cells, and its implications for cell to module efficiency gap

Sourabh Dongaonkar, Stephen Loser, Erik J. Sheets, Katherine Zaunbrecher, Rakesh Agrawal, Tobin J. Marks, Muhammad A. Alam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

25 Citations (Scopus)


Parasitic shunt formation is an important cause of variability and module efficiency loss in all photovoltaic technologies. In this letter, we quantify the nature of this shunt variability in four major thin film photovoltaic (TFPV) technologies, namely, amorphous silicon (a-Si:H), organic (OPV), Cu(In,Ga)SSe (CIGS), and CdTe. We analyze a wide variety of datasets to show that the shunt current exhibits a robust universal log-normal behavior for all these technologies. We affirm this conclusion by rigorous statistical analysis of the available data. We use equivalent circuit simulations to quantitatively illustrate the importance of this heavy-tailed distribution towards determining the universal gap between cell and module efficiency.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)782-787
Number of pages6
JournalEnergy and Environmental Science
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1 2013


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Nuclear Energy and Engineering
  • Pollution

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