Solar energy is one of the most promising renewable energy sources in terms of being pollution-free and with an unlimited energy source. Unfortunately, solar energy power generation is limited by the diurnal cycle and is highly susceptible to weather conditions. To improve the reliability and dispatchability of power generation from solar energy, it is necessary to integrate solar PV panels with energy storage devices, such as batteries. The standard approach to solar + battery systems is to externally connect the two components as part of a power system that includes a power conditioning and energy management system. This system architecture has inherent issues such as high loss in the round-trip energy efficiency (<86% at the system level) and complexity in the design of the overall system.
This project focuses on advancing the development in a photo-rechargeable battery system (e.g. solar battery) as a clean, renewable, and cost-effective power generation and energy storage system. The architecture has combined two different devices (solar cell and Li-ion battery) into a single device. Through this project, we have developed a battery energy storage system with the charging functionality of solar PV panels, within a single device architecture. Combining these systems is beneficial to minimizing energy losses through its innovative device architecture. Resulting in the development of a high capacity photo-rechargeable Li-ion battery. The solar battery can replace standard solar panels in power generation systems by achieving a high conversion efficiency and energy storage capacity. The performance of the solar battery in terms of power conversion efficiency and capacity are optimized and improved by modifying the physical/chemical properties of the electrode materials and performing crystal structure engineering. This has pioneered the development of a novel architecture for a new type of solar cells.