Scientists and researchers from Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin have set a new world record in solar cell efficiency this year. Their study about monolithic perovskite/silicon tandem solar cell has hit 29.15 percent efficiency by enhanced hole extraction. This is the highest solar cell efficiency attained so far.
If you want to learn how efficient a solar module can be, you may want to read our previous article about the simplest method to calculate solar panel efficiency.
The solar cells are made of a layered combination of two effective semiconductors working together to improve on all-silicon panels by adding “up and coming new challenger” perovskite.
Names of scientists/researchers who mainly contributed to the perovskite/silicon tandem solar cell research:
- Amran Al-Ashouri
- Eike Köhnen
- Bor Li
- Artiom Magomedov
- Hannes Hempel
- Pietro Caprioglio
- José A. Márquez
- Anna Belen Morales Vilches
- Ernestas Kasparavicius
- Joel A. Smith
- Nga Phung
- Dorothee Menzel
- Max Grischek
- Lukas Kegelmann
- Dieter Skroblin
- Christian Gollwitzer
- Tadas Malinauskas
- Marko Jošt
- Gašper Matič
- Bernd Rech
- Rutger Schlatmann
- Marko Topič
- Lars Korte
- Antonio Abate
- Bernd Stannowski
- Dieter Neher
- Martin Stolterfoht
- Thomas Unold
- Vytautas Getautis
- Steve Albrecht
A big thanks to this group of researchers who just set a new world record in solar cell efficiency.
What is a Perovskite Solar Cell?
A perovskite solar cell is a type of solar cell that contains a compound with perovskite structure, with a hybrid organic-inorganic lead as its layer which actively harvests light.
Solar cell efficiencies of devices using these materials have increased from 3.8% in 2009 to 25.5% in 2020 in single-junction architectures, and, in silicon-based tandem cells, to 29.1%, exceeding the maximum efficiency achieved in single-junction silicon solar cells. Perovskite solar cells are therefore currently the fastest-advancing solar technology. With the potential of achieving even higher efficiencies and very low production costs, perovskite solar cells have become commercially attractive.Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perovskite_solar_cell
Silicon and perovskite were actually developed separately for solar module use. The standard semiconductor material for solar panels is silicon and it has been widely used throughout the solar power plants in the world. On the other hand, perovskite is considered the new challenger to the solar cell category. Researchers even predict that it may overshadow silicon-based solar cells soon.
Effects of High Solar Cell Efficiency
With the improvements in solar cells’ efficiency, we will be able to see a great effect on the output of solar panels. This means that solar PV plants will be yielding more solar power if they utilize solar modules with the highest efficiency.
Let’s say, for example, you have a roof space that can accommodate the installation of 20 traditional solar panels (~22.04% solar cell efficiency) amounting to 8 kilowatt-peak capacity. Now, when you use a solar panel with 29.15% solar cell efficiency, you would only need 16 modules to reach 8.465 kilowatts of solar power. Or, with the same space and 20 solar panels, you can have a 10.58 kilowatt-peak solar power plant.
If you want to read more about solar panels for homes, please check out our previously posted articles.
Is the Perovskite/Silicon Tandem solar cell available in the market now?
As of the moment, it is not yet available to the general market. More research, tests, and experiments will be conducted for this type of solar cell to be distributed and be utilized by new solar PV plants.
Once this becomes available, we expect more solar energy will be harvested and solar power plants becoming more efficient in doing it. That will be a very promising and bright future!
This is yet another celebratory moment as we discover more of the solar PV technology. However, the researchers are not stopping here. They aim to reach for higher levels of solar cell output efficiency to advance the utilization of more renewable energy resources.