Document Type

Theses, Ph.D


Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence


Communication engineering and systems

Publication Details

Successfully submitted for the award of Doctor of Philosophy to the Technological University Dublin, 2010.


Solar energy is becoming an attractive alternative for powering autonomous communication systems. These devices often involve the use of separate photovoltaics and antennas, which demand a compromise in the utilization of the limited space available. This thesis deals with the design, analysis, fabrication and validation of different techniques for the integration of antennas and solar cells in a single multifunctional device. Four different photovoltaic technologies are considered within this work, namely, polycrystalline silicon (poly-Si), monocrystalline (mono-Si) emitter-wrap-through (EWT) rear contact solar cells, amorphous silicon (a-Si) thin film on glass substrate, and bifacial solar cells. The use of a poly-Si solar cell was investigated as ground plane for a microstrip patch antenna as well as reflector for a half-wave dipole antenna. Looking forward to further minimize the shade of the solar element on the solar cell and to increase the smart appearance, a film that is both transparent and conductive, the AgHT-4, was evaluated as an antenna radiating element for the integration with an a-Si thin film photovoltaic module on glass substrate. A different approach involves the use of EWT solar cells as a folded dipole for integration with solar concentration. The solar cells in this structure are used both for power generation and as radiating element, and a parabolic trough is employed as well with a double function as solar concentrator for the PV cells as well as reflector for the folded dipole antenna. Numerical simulation results obtained with CST Microwave Studio were validated experimentally with the construction of the corresponding prototypes. The performance of these prototypes is thoroughly evaluated in an anechoic chamber. The approaches proposed in this work for integration of antennas and PV technology will help to reduce the marginal cost of renewable energy, improving its economic viability due to the possibility of an integrated production and easier maintenance. It also reduces the need for cable deployment and leads to compact reliable systems with decreased exposure to natural disasters and vandalism.