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Perovskite Solar Shows Promise in 2021

Perovskite / Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perovskite

When the International Energy Agency announced in October that solar energy is the “cheapest electricity in history,” its assertion was based on below par technologies within 15-25% range.

For instance, Perovskite PV gives an idea that new solar power standard could be set at 30% efficiencies or more. Photovoltaic efficiency rating of panels north of 30% doesn’t appear very theoretical anymore since December 2020.

The U.S National Renewable Energy Laboratory authorized the new record of U.K startup company Oxford PV last December. One solar cell, NREL confirmed and coated with Perovskite can convert about 29.52% of incident solar energy to electric power.

With regards to NREL’s benchmark, conventional silicon cells do not go beyond 27.6%. Oxford PV however announces its ambition to go beyond 30% soon.

With the current pace of development, the company suggests that in the next four years, it should be able to manufacture cells with about 33% efficiency.

Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin, a German research institute also involved in the perovskite-silicon PV race, recorded an efficiency rate of about 29.15% with its perovskite cell. The institute expects the rate to climb to 32.4% in the nearest future.

In this regard, Oxford PV’s chief technology officer, Chris Case commented. “ We hope [this technology] will change the face of photovoltaics and accelerate the adoption of solar to address climate change.”

The technology of coating silicon material with a thin film of perovskite mineral gives Oxford PV the ability to absorb more radiation from the sun. The layer of perovskite material captures short wavelengths while the silicon film collects longer wavelengths. Oxford PV hopes to further work on cell coatings and antireflection films to get rid of impurities and possible faults, Case explains.

Institutions around the world are optimistic that perovskites will be a better replacement for silicon as hopes to continue to linger for the affordability and accessibility of renewable energy.

Initially, earlier versions of perovskite cells were not stable and would burn out quickly. However, within the last ten years, its stability and durability has been significantly improved for outdoor and indoor usage.

Despite this development, some researchers are pessimistic about the use of Perovskites owing to the material's potential degradability when exposed to water, extreme temperatures, salt spray and certain chemical elements.

Proponents on the other hand suggest that these cells will last longer than any other available silicon based modules in the market.

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