Perovskite solar cells in commercial production just around the corner says report

Perovskite

An unassuming lump of perovskite. “The fastest improving solar cell technology there has ever been.”

We’ve previously covered the novelty of perovskites as a potential game changer for solar cell cost and efficiency, and also asked why, with such a name, they haven’t as yet debuted in the latest James Bond blockbuster. But perovskite solar cells in commercial production as the “Next Big Thing” in solar cell technology? Surely that’s a long, long way off?

Actually no, according to a recent report by Lux Research, an independent research and advisory company specialising in emerging technologies.

The company report, released last month, found that, although there were a number of “challenges to overcome”, they expected solar cells with a perovskite semiconductor layer to be available for commercial production between 2019 and 2021.

“While the efficiency question has been answered, there remain issues in stability, cost, and the feasibility of real-world efficiencies that must be addressed before commercialization can occur,” said Tyler Ogden, Lux Research Associate and lead author of the report, in an April 12 press release.

Despite the necessary hurdles that need to be overcome, he added the success of testing of perovskite material in the laboratory had already sparked interest in the commercial sector with partnership programs already being considered with developers.

“…demonstration of their potential for high performance by academic labs has caused research groups to consider spinning off start-ups, meaning companies need to consider opportunities now,” he added.

So why all the excitement? Chiefly because the performance of perovskite-based solar cells has been encouraging (to say the least). With an efficiency improvement from 3.8 percent to the current 21 percent in less than 5 years, it is the fastest improving solar cell technology ever.

As a result, a number of companies are looking at developing perovskite solar cells. One of which is the Aussie PV research company Dyesol which has claimed success in perovskite stability — one of the “challenges” listed by the report — for solar applications.

Another is UK based Oxford Photovoltaics which is aiming to demonstrate  a ‘tandem’ silicon/perovskite solar cell with 30% efficiency in the lab by mid 2017.

Exciting times for the solar technology with the bond villain name.

Comments

  1. Erik Christiansen says

    Crikey, it’s moving so fast that the NREL scorekeepers already flag Perovskite at 22.1% efficiency in the lab:

    http://www.nrel.gov/ncpv/images/efficiency_chart.jpg

    But with the stuff used in these cells being a water-soluble salt, I’m just nervous that the back-sheet sealing might not perfectly exclude water for a couple of decades. It has to put pressure on the other players on the cost front, in due course though, whatever happens.

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