The present paper describes an apparatus developed for on-sun high-concentration solar cell experiments. Test cells are mounted in a module made of a two-stage concentrator (Fresnel lens and non-imaging secondary), and a passive cooling system using ebullition heat transfer and designed for maintaining the cells' temperature 30°C maximum above the ambient temperature under permanent sunlight. Incident light power on cells of various nature, size and geometry is measured on an original calorimetric equipment realized with the aim of integrating the spectral and temporal variations of the focused solar light, as well as illumination dispersion on the active area of the cells. A 1% accuracy on concentrated solar radiation determination and response times of 3 to 6 s are demonstrated. This equipment has been tested on silicon concentrator cells of 8 × 8 mm2active area, designed with an interdigitated back contact structure (IBC) and processed with a multilevel metallization technique for efficient mounting on the cooling system. The cells' electrical response is measured automatically together with the incident light power on a Data Acquisition System connected to a scientific PC calculator. A specific method for precise determination of the cells' external parameters under illumination with this equipment has also been developed, which will be described in a following paper. © 1992.
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