Effect of Reverse Bias on Dye-Sensitized Technology: Lessons for Application in PV-Integrated Textile Fabric Designs Useable in Wajir, Vihiga, Kitui and Kajiado Counties in Kenya


  • Raphael Venson Makokha Otakwa Department of Physics & Materials Science, School of Biological & Physical Sciences, Maseno University, PO Private Bag 40105, Maseno
  • Herick Othieno Department of Physics & Materials Science, School of Biological & Physical Sciences, Maseno University, PO Private Bag 40105, Maseno
  • Andrew Odhiambo Oduor Department of Physics & Materials Science, School of Biological & Physical Sciences, Maseno University, PO Private Bag 40105, Maseno




Dye sensitized, shading, textile fabrics, architecture.


This paper reports on the effect of reverse bias (RB) on dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs) that were investigated outdoor in Wajir (1o44’50’’ North, 40o 4’ 8’’ East), Vihiga (35o0’ East, 0o15’ North), Kitui (3o 0’ South, 37o 50’ East) and Kajiado (360o 5’ East, 30o 0’ South) in Kenya. The DSSCs’ J-V characteristics, namely, Voc, Jsc, FF and ?, were studied under varied RB potentials. This was achieved through partial, as well as complete shading of the DSSCs during their operation in the study sites, using a thick piece of black cloth, and measuring the obtaining J-V characteristics. Findings of the study reveal that subjecting the DSSC module that was investigated in Wajir to RB of between 1V and 4V triggered between 25.53% and 23.53% drop in the module’s efficiency (?), followed by its total breakdown thereafter. The modules studied in Vihiga, Kitui and Kajiado exhibited a similar trend, but with variations in ? under the different RB regimes. The DSSCs’ breakdown under RB regimes of over half their voltage ratings could be attributed to the damaging of their dye constituents. These findings are important for context-informed DSSC dye choices, as well as DSSC-integrated designs that appeal to local cultural textile fabrics, like shawls, kanzu (long robes) and light coats that women and men dress in, respectively, in Wajir, and blankets that both men and women wrap around their shoulders in Kajiado, as well as in local architectures. The findings underscore the existence of vast prospects for localized industries that innovate in DSSC-integrated designs for local espousal. They could form foundations for programs that mentor people, especially children and youths at local levels to engage in climate change-mitigating enterprises.


[1]Allen M, Frame D, Huntingford C, Jones C, Lowe J, Meinsh-ausen N. Warning caused by cumulative carbon emissions towards the trillion tone. Nature 2009; 458: 1163-1166.https://doi.org/10.1038/nature08019
[2]Otakwa R, Othieno H, Awange J, Oduor A. Technology options for the built environment in Kenya: Dye-sensitized and amorphous silicon photovoltaics for application in NZE buildings. Current Alternative Energy 2017; 1: 1-10.https://doi.org/10.2174/2405463102666170306162043
[3]Perry S, Klemes J, Bulatov I. Integrated waste and renewable energy to reduce the carbon footprint of locally integrated energy sectors. Energy 2008; 33: 1489-1497.https://doi.org/10.1016/j.energy.2008.03.008
[4]Mui S, Law K, Chan M. Carbon reduction opportunities in the California Petroleum Industry. NRDC Issue Brief, 2013; IB: 13-09-E, 1-15.
[5]Meggers F, Leibundgut H, Kennedy S, Qin M, Schlaich M, Sobek W, Shukuya M. Reduce CO2 from buildings with technology to zero emissions. Sustainable Cities and Society 2012; 2: 29-36.https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scs.2011.10.001
[6]Mather R, Wilson J. Fabrication of photovoltaic textiles. Coatings 2017; 7(63): 1-21.https://doi.org/10.3390/coatings7050063
[7]Zeng W, Shu L, Li Q, Chen S, Wang F, Tao X. Fibre-based wearable electronics: A review of materials, fabrication, devices, and applications. Advanced Materials 2014; 26:5310-5336.https://doi.org/10.1002/adma.201400633
[8]Ostfeld A, Arias A. Flexible photovoltaic power systems: integration opportunities, challenges and advances. Flexible and Printed Electronics 2017; 2: 013001.https://doi.org/10.1088/2058-8585/aa5750
[9]Nussbaumer P, Bazilian M, Modi V, Yumkella K. Measuring energy poverty: Focusing on what matters. Oxford: Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI) 2011.
[10]Rim S, Baldrias M, Morse M. Temperature of solar cells in reverse bias: Theory and application. 2010 35th IEEE Photovoltaic Specialists Conference. Honolulu, HI: 2010; pp. 002698-002700. https://doi.org/10.1109/PVSC.2010.5616916
[11]Kurtz S, Wohlgemuth J, Kempe M, Bosco N, Hacke P, Jordan D, Miller D, Silverman T, Phillips N, Earnest T, Romero R. Photovoltaic module qualification plus testing.Denver West Parkway: National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) 2013.
[12]Vasko A, Vijh A, Karpov V. Hot spots spontaneously emerging in thin film photovoltaics 2013. arXiv: https://arxiv.org/pdf/1401.0056.pdf , 1-10.
[13]Rajagopal A, Williams S, Chueh C, Jen A. Abnormal current-voltage hysteresis induced by reverse bias in organic-inorganic hybrid perovskite photovoltaics. The Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters 2016; 7(6): 995-1003.https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.jpclett.6b00058
[14]Kern R, Sastrawan R, Ferber J, Stangl R, Luther J. Modelling and interpretation of electrical impedance spectra of dye solar cells operated under open circuit conditions. Electrochimica Acta 2002; 47: 4213-4225.https://doi.org/10.1016/S0013-4686(02)00444-
[15]Roux L, Knoesen D, Hietkamp S. Spectroscopic and impedance studies of reverse biased degraded dye solar cells. Pretoria: CSIR Materials Science and Manufacturing, Energy and Processes 2011.
[16]Hinsch A, Belledin U, Brandt H, Einsele F, Hemming S, Koch D, Ran U, Sastrawan R, Schauer T. Glass frit sealed dye solar modules with adaptable screen printed design. 4th World Conference on Photovoltaic Energy Conversion.Hawaii 2006.
[17]Milkevitch M, Brauns E, Brewer K. Spectroscopic and electrochemical properties of a series of mixed-metal d^6, d^8 Bimetallic Complexes of the form
[(Bpy)2m(BL)PtCls)^2+ Quinoxalle) or dpb(2,3-Bis(2-Pyridyl)-Benzoquinoxaline); M=Os"" or Ru""). Inorganic Chemistry, 1996; 35(6): 1737-1739.https://doi.org/10.1021/ic950693y
[18]Marzouki F, Abdalla S, Al-Almeer S. Dye sensitized solar cells with low cost carbon nanotubes electrodes. Advances in Material Science and Engineering 2016; 4928710: 1-13.https://doi.org/10.1155/2016/4928710
[19]Otakwa R, Simiyu J, Waita S, Mwabora J. Application of dye-sensitized solar cell technology in the tropics: effects of radiation intensity and temperature on DSSC performance. International Journal of Advanced Renewable Energy Research 2012; 1(2(4)): 17-25.
[20]Wajir County Government. First county integrated development plan 2013-2017. Nairobi: Republic of Kenya 2013.
[21]KNBS. The 2009 population and housing census. Nairobi: Kenya National Bureau of Statistics 2010.
[22]Vihiga County Government. First County Integrated Development Plan 2013-2017. Nairobi: Republic of Kenya 2013.
[23]Kitui County Government. County integrated development plan 2013-2017. Nairobi: Republic of Kenya 2014.
[24]Kajiado County Government. First county integrated development plan 2013-2017. Nairobi: Republic of Kenya 2013.
[25]Otakwa R. Dye sensitized technology in Kenya.Saarbrucken, Germany: LAP LAMBERT Academic Publishing 2017.
[26]Lobato K, Peter L. Direct measurement of the temperature coefficient of the electron quasi-fermi level in dye-sensitized nanocrystalline solar cells using a Titanium sensor electrode. Journal of Physical Chemistry B 2006; 110(43): 2190-2192.https://doi.org/10.1021/jp064538o
[27]Bergine M, Krašovec U, Ho?evar M, Topi? M. Performance of DSSCs based on ionic liquids: Effect of temperature and iodine concentration. Thin Solid Films 2008; 516: 7155-7159.https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tsf.2007.12.003
[28]Roux L. The effects of reverse bias on the efficiency of dye solar cells. Western Cape: Department of Physics, University of Western Cape 2009.
[29]Sauvage F, Decopet J, Zhang M, Zakeeruddin S, Comte P, Nazeeruddin M. Effect of sensitizer adsorption temperature on the performance of dye sensitized solar cells. Journal of the American Society 2011; 133(24): 9304-9310.https://doi.org/10.1021/ja110541t