Department or Program

Physics and Astronomy


The energy infrastructure across the United States is at a critical crossroads . On one hand, we could continue to rely on traditional sources of energy by further developing and revitalizing our coal, natural gas, and nuclear power plants. On the other hand, given the rate at which various renewable energy technologies are reaching grid parity, alternative energy systems could be widely incorporated into the grid. In this case, it is important to consider which renewable energy technology produces power most effectively. From the perspective of theoretical physics and experimental achievements in photovoltaics, this thesis seeks to evaluate the ability of concentrator photovoltaics to provide electricity to the grid. In this paper, it is found that concentrator photovoltaics hold several significant advantages over single junction photovoltaics, most notably in efficiency on a land use basis and in its potential for improvement. Also, the discrepancy between the widely cited 30% efficiency for silicon solar cells, and its true value of 33.65% when considering the effect of the AM 1.5 spectrum, is described in this paper.

Level of Access

Open Access

First Advisor

Smedley, John

Date of Graduation


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science

Number of Pages


Components of Thesis

1 .pdf file

Open Access

Available to all.