Effect of DC to DC converters on organic solar cell arrays for powering DC loads

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Trotter, Matthew S.
Durgin, Gregory D.
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The objective of this research is to determine if it is possible to reduce the number of organic solar cells required to power a load using a DC to DC converter thereby reducing the cost of the organic solar array system. An organic solar power system designer may choose an organic implementation of a DC to DC converter to go along with the organic solar cell array. Common DC to DC converters include the buck converter, boost converter, buck/boost converter, and Cuk converter, all of which are not good candidates for organic implementation due to their use of inductors. Organic inductors are relatively more lossy than organic capacitors. So, an inductor-less DC to DC converter, such as the Dickson charge pump, would be a better candidate for organic implementation. Solar cells connected in an array configuration usually do not perform up to their full potential due to current and voltage mismatches between solar cells. These mismatches can be related to each solar cell's circuit model parameters such as the photon current density, diode ideality factor, diode reverse saturation current density, parallel resistance, and series resistance. This research varies these circuit model parameters as dependent variables, and observes the loads and power levels that make the Dickson charge pump a feasible option. The results show that current mismatch does produce an opportunity to use a DC to DC converter to save the use of a few solar cells. However, the Dickson charge pump was found to be infeasible due to an input voltage requirement that could not be met using the tested organic solar cells.
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