As youâ€™re probably already aware, perovskite solar cells have the greatest potential of being the most prominent source of solar energy in the near future. Theyâ€™re cheap to make and flexible enough to be applied to most any surface.
And now a team of researchers from the University of New South Wales (UNSW) in Sydney, Australia has made a breakthrough by creating the biggest perovskite solar cell so far, and setting a new efficiency record with it.
According to them, they have managed to achieve a 12.1 percent energy conversion efficiency rating for a 6.3 sq in (16 sq cm) perovskite solar cell. This cell is also about 10 times larger than any existing high-efficiency perovskite cell. The team also managed to achieve 18 percent efficiency for a 0.5 sq in (1.2 sq cm) single perovskite cell, as well as 11.5 percent for a 6.3 sq in (16 sq cm) four-cell perovskite mini-module. They are also confident that they can achieve a 24 percent efficiency within a year or so.
These cells get their name from the crystals they are made of, which are grown into a structure called perovskite. Due to their special characteristic, such as the smooth layers of perovskite with large crystal grain sizes, these cells can absorb more light than solar cells made of silicon. They are also much cheaper to produce.
Perovskite cells can also be created in different colors, or be transparent due to their chemical composition. This means that they can be used to cover virtually any surface, such as the sides or roofs of buildings, gadgets, cars and even windows.
One of the major downsides of perovskite solar cells is the fact that they are not very durable. However, the team believes that they can also improve their durability as they strive for even higher levels of efficiency.