The best solar cells currently capture just more than a quarter of the sun’s energy. Much of sun’s power potential remains untapped.
For decades, scientists have been trying to expand the efficiency limit of both perovskite and silicon solar cells.
Scientists at Oxford PV, a perovskite research firm in Britain, found they could beat the current efficiency barrier by combining the two technologies.
Perovskite is a calcium titanium oxide mineral with valuable optoelectronic properties.
The new solar cell — detailed Tuesday in the journal Applied Physics Letters — marries metal halide perovskites with traditional silicon photovoltaic cells.
“We identified perovskites as the perfect partner for a tandem system with silicon,” study author Laura Miranda Pérez, head of materials research at Oxford PV, said in a press release.
Because the manufacturing technologies for perovskites are already developed, the material was ideal “plug-and-play” add-on. To build the new cell, scientists deposited a layer of metal halide perovskites directly onto a simple silicon cell.
“We’re proving the potential of perovskite-on-silicon tandem technology through the continuous achievement of world-record efficiencies, with our current record at 29.52 percent,” Miranda Pérez said.
After seven years of trials and tweaks, researchers at Oxford PV are ready to begin mass commercial production of their new perovskite-silicon solar cell technology.
“We want to help people understand the huge potential of perovskite-on-silicon tandem technology to boost the efficiency of solar installations and to help the world reach the goal of providing sustainable energy for all,” Miranda Pérez said.