Researchers at Oxford PV, an Oxford University spin-off company, have asserted that combining metal halide perovskites with conventional silicon could overcome the 26% efficiency limit of solar cells made with only silicon.
The researchers said that the addition of perovskites onto existing silicon photovoltaics is the fastest way to enhance the performance of silicon. Perovskites satisfied all optoelectronic requirements for a solar cell and could be manufactured with existing processes. These properties make perovskite perfect plug-and-play as it could be deposited as a layer onto a traditional silicon solar cell.
The research report stated that the elemental composition of perovskites materials is available within the existing supply chain that provides a way to scale up the technology quickly for meeting the ambitious solar energy targets required to tackle climate change.
In addition, the higher power output of perovskite on silicon tandem cells could reduce the carbon footprint embodied in the production of silicon required for solar cells.
The researchers aim to start mass commercial production of the new technology at its manufacturing facility in Brandenburg, Germany.
The lead author of the report Laura Miranda Perez said, “We identified perovskites as the perfect partner for a tandem system with silicon. We are providing the potential of perovskite-on-silicon tandem technology through the continuous achievement of world-record efficiencies, with our current record at 29.52%.”
“We want to help people understand the 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,” Perez added.
Oxford PV is a spinoff of Oxford University and a developer of thin-film perovskite solar cell technology. The company has raised $133 Million in VC funding to date, according to Mercom Capital Group’s Solar Funding and M&A Report.
In January 2021, Oxford PV announced a new record efficiency of 29.52% for its perovskite silicon tandem solar cell. This record efficiency was certified by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory of the United States. To achieve higher efficiency, the researchers used the technology of coating a thin film of perovskite material on ordinary silicon solar cells to better use photons across the solar spectrum.
Earlier, it had achieved a 27.3% conversion efficiency for its 1 cm2 perovskite-silicon tandem solar cell. The Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems (ISE) had certified this finding.
Image credit: Oxford PV
Harsh is a staff reporter at Mercom India. Previously with Indian Express, he has covered general interest stories. He holds a Masters Degree in Journalism from Symbiosis Institute of Media and Communication, Pune.