New way to make low-cost solar cell technology

November 14, 2016, Australian National University
ANU PhD student The Duong, Dr Tom White and PhD student Jun Peng. Credit: Jack Fox, ANU.

Researchers at ANU have found a new way to fabricate high efficiency semi-transparent perovskite solar cells in a breakthrough that could lead to more efficient and cheaper solar electricity.

Dr Tom White from the ANU Research School of Engineering said the new fabrication method significantly improved the performance of perovskite solar cells, which can combine with conventional solar cells to produce more efficient solar electricity.

He said perovskite solar cells were extremely good at making electricity from visible light - blue, green and red - while conventional silicon were more efficient at converting infrared light into electricity.

"The prospect of adding a few additional processing steps at the end of a production line to make perovskite cells is very exciting and could boost solar from 25 per cent to 30 per cent," Dr White said.

"By combining these two cells, the perovskite cell and the silicon cell, we are able to make much better use of the solar energy and achieve higher efficiencies than either cell on its own."

While perovskite cells can improve efficiency, they are not yet stable enough to be used on rooftops. Dr White said the new fabrication technique could help develop more reliable perovskite cells.

Credit: Jack Fox

The new fabrication method involves adding a small amount of the element indium into one of the cell layers during fabrication. That could increase the cell's power output by as much as 25 per cent.

"We have been able to achieve a record efficiency of 16.6 per cent for a semi-transparent perovskite cell, and 24.5 per cent for a perovskite-silicon tandem, which is one of the highest efficiencies reported for this type of cell," said Dr White.

Dr White said the research placed ANU in a small group of labs around the world with the capability to improve efficiency using perovskites.

The development builds on the state-of-the-art silicon cell research at ANU and is part of a $12.2 million "High-efficiency silicon/" project led by University of New South Wales and supported by $3.6 million of funding from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency.

Explore further: Rubidium pushes perovskite solar cells to 21.6 percent efficiency

Related Stories

Toward 'greener,' inexpensive solar cells

September 28, 2016

Solar panels are proliferating across the globe to help reduce the world's dependency on fossil fuels. But conventional panels are not without environmental costs, too. Now scientists are reporting in the Journal of the American ...

First semi-transparent perovskite modules

May 25, 2016

Nanoelectronics research center imec, partner in Solliance, presented today the first-ever semi-transparent perovskite PV-module, achieving power conversion efficiencies up to 12%. The technology enables for semi-transparent ...

Recommended for you

EU set to fine Google billions over Android: sources

July 17, 2018

The EU is set to fine US internet giant Google several billion euros this week for freezing out rivals of its Android mobile phone system, sources said, in a ruling that risks fresh tensions with Washington.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.