The technology of “perovskite” has been in the research circles for years now, but only until a few months back is what it is picking up the steam. The all new thin-film technology, if comes out of the laboratory phase, can actually increase the efficiency at a lower cost to solar manufacturing.
What is Perovskite?
Perovskite has a similar crystal structure as calcium titanium oxide (CaTiO3). The chemical formula for perovskite is ABX3, where A and B are cations and X is the bonding anion. In the new technology, lead is often the dominant metal used in perovskites.
A perovskite solar energy cell is considered thin-film technology, as no silicon is involved. It uses inexpensive and abundant materials, which makes it potent for becoming the dominant thin-film and the successful solar manufacturing technology.
How Are Perovskite Cells Manufactured?
Perovskite cells are actually fabricated by depositing chemicals by spin-coating, spraying or painting them onto a substrate. The perovskite material starts forming as the chemicals crystallize. The process of application by painting onto substrates opens it’s potential in markets, as it becomes flexible, lightweight and gives non-uniform solar energy generation options.
Perovskite might have shown excellent performance potential in the lab and its efficiency has also increased from 12% to 23% in 4 years. However, the issue is that its efficiency declines drastically as the module size increases. The research lab, NREL has spent considerable time on this new technology to prove its effectiveness at solar energy conversion. The lab attributes the decline in performance to the non-uniform coating of chemicals in the cell. It also highlights the conversion losses, when perovskite is layered with other solar cell technologies.
As a mater of fact, laboratories have found promising success with perovskite, especially when it works in tandem with other solar energy technologies. Perovskites absorb more light spectrum, so that the layer is placed on top of a stable material.
CIGS Perovskite Cells
CIGS-perovskite tandem cells are becoming a popular testing choice and have made big gains, since 2016. Their efficiency raised from 17.8% in late 2016 to 21.5% in January 2019. Since, CIGS thin-film already has already made success in the market, improving perovskite’s performance in tandem may be easier. Additionally, researchers at imec think that a silicon-perovskite stacked cell can push its efficiency to about 30%.
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