22 July 2021

[Perovskite] – Perovskite solar cells – a true alternative to silicon ?

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The growing need for ‘green’ energy sources combined with silicon solar cells’ stagnating power conversion efficiencies have lead to a keen search for an alternative to silicon that would bring about a major change. Perovskite solar cell technology, boasting potential for high efficiency, low-cost scalable photovoltaic solar cells, may just be a suitable contender in this race.

Perovskites, a class of materials that share a similar structure, display a myriad of exciting properties that position them as attractive candidates for enabling low-cost, efficient photovoltaics (PV) that could even be sprayed onto rooftops and various other surfaces.

Perovskite solar cells have made enormous advancements in the last few years. In 2009, perovskite solar cells converted around 3.8% of sunlight into usable electric power, but constant advancements have brought its efficiency to about 20% by the year 2014 and work is still vigorously taking place.

Nowadays, they are regarded as the rising star of the photovoltaics world and of huge interest to the academic community. Perovskites are also predicted to play a role in next-gen electric vehicle batteries, sensors, lasers and much more.

A perovskite solar cell is a type of solar cell, which includes a perovskite structured compound, most commonly a hybrid organic-inorganic lead or tin halide-based material, as the light-harvesting active layer. Perovskite materials are usually cheap to produce and relatively simple to manufacture. Perovskites possess intrinsic properties like broad absorption spectrum, fast charge separation, long transport distance of electrons and holes, long carrier separation lifetime, and more, that make them very promising materials for solid-state solar cells.

Perovskite solar cells are causing excitement within the solar power industry with their ability to absorb light across almost all visible wavelengths, exceptional power conversion efficiencies already exceeding 20% in the lab, and relative ease of fabrication. Perovskite solar cells still face several challenge, but much work is put into facing them and some companies are already talking about commercializing them in the near future.

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