# Current in a solar cell when temperature increases?

• says
In summary, when the temperature of a solar cell increases, the output current increases exponentially while the voltage output decreases linearly, according to one source. However, another source suggests that only the short circuit current increases slightly. These two sources also clarify that short circuit current and regular output current are two different things. Additionally, the temperature increase also affects the PN junction voltage and the resistance of the conductive material in the panel, which can impact the maximum power point.
says
What happens to current in a solar cell when temperature increases? I found two sources with different information.

1) As solar panel temperature increases, its output current increases exponentially while the voltage output is reduced linearly.'

2) Whereas, this second website says short circuit current increases slightly.

Should I be thinking of short circuit current and output current as two different things?

2) http://www.pveducation.org/pvcdrom/solar-cell-operation/effect-of-temperature

Last edited by a moderator:
Short circuit current and regular output current (at non-zero voltage) are indeed different things.

I'm not sure if the author of (1) really means "exponentially". Or with a very low coefficient in the exponent, but then you could call it linear...

says
As a first guess I would consider...
1. The PN junction voltage falls slightly as temperature rises. Coefficient is about –2.5mV per degree centigrade, per cell.
2. If the PN junction voltage is lower then light with a slightly longer wavelength may be accepted.
3. Most importantly, the resistance of the conductive material in the panel rises in proportion to temperature.
1 & 3 lower the available output voltage with temperature increase and so moves the maximum power point.

says

## 1. What is the effect of temperature on the current in a solar cell?

As temperature increases, the current in a solar cell typically decreases. This is due to the fact that as temperature rises, the rate of electron-hole recombination increases, leading to a decrease in the number of free charge carriers available to generate current.

## 2. Why does the current in a solar cell decrease with increasing temperature?

The decrease in current with increasing temperature is primarily caused by the increase in electron-hole recombination rate. Additionally, the change in bandgap energy of the materials in the solar cell can also contribute to a decrease in current.

## 3. How does the temperature coefficient affect the current in a solar cell?

The temperature coefficient, which measures the change in a solar cell's efficiency with temperature, can also impact the current. A positive temperature coefficient means that as temperature increases, the efficiency of the solar cell decreases, leading to a decrease in current. A negative temperature coefficient has the opposite effect, with efficiency and current increasing as temperature rises.

## 4. Is there a maximum temperature at which a solar cell can operate?

Yes, there is a maximum temperature at which a solar cell can operate effectively. This is typically around 25-30 degrees Celsius above the ambient temperature. Beyond this point, the decrease in current and efficiency can lead to overheating and potential damage to the solar cell.

## 5. Can the current in a solar cell be increased by cooling it down?

Yes, cooling down a solar cell can increase its current output. Lower temperatures result in a decrease in electron-hole recombination and an increase in the efficiency of the solar cell, ultimately leading to a higher current. However, this may not always be practical or cost-effective, and the benefits may be limited by the solar cell's design and materials.

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