Efficiency boost for perovskite solar panel

Technology News |
By Nick Flaherty

Researchers in the US have constructed a more efficient low cost perovskite solar panel using a new architecture, delivering 24% conversion comparable to silicon panels.

The highly efficient cell also retained 87% of its original efficiency after 2,400 hours of operation at 55 degrees Celsius.

The team at the US National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) used an inverted architecture, with the perovskite layers deposited in a different order on the glass substrate. The inverted perovskite architecture is known for its high stability and integration into tandem solar cells.

The work was done in collaboration with scientists from the University of Toledo, the University of Colorado–Boulder, and the University of California–San Diego, adding a new molecule, 3-(Aminomethyl) pyridine (3-APy), to the surface of the perovskite. The molecule reacted to the formamidinium within the perovskite to create an electric field on the surface of the perovskite layer.

Perovskite, which refers to a crystalline structure, has emerged in the last decade as an impressive means to efficiently capture sunlight and convert it to electricity. Research into perovskite solar cells has been focused to a large degree on how to increase their stability.

“Some people can demonstrate perovskites with high stability, but efficiency is lower,” said Kai Zhu, a senior scientist in the Chemistry and Nanoscience Centre at NREL. “You ought to have high efficiency and high stability simultaneously. That’s challenging.”

The scientists reported the 3-APy reactive surface engineering can improve the efficiency of an inverted cell from less than 23% to greater than 25%. They also noted the reactive surface engineering stands out as an effective approach to significantly enhance the performance of inverted cells.

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