Scientists at the Australian National University (ANU) have made a breakthrough in improving solar cell efficiency and looked into the future of technology in the process.
Researchers set a record – 21.6% efficiency. This is the best result for certain sizes of perovskite panels. This means that 21.6% of the sunlight that hits the solar cells is converted into electrical energy.
According to Associate Professor Thomas White, conventional rooftop solar panels now have efficiencies of 17-18%. “There are three goals in working with new solar panels: efficiency, stability and low cost. Perovskite is the future of this technology. This material has competitive performance. Its price is one of the main advantages. The real challenge is to make such panels stable enough for use on the roof. where they will have to withstand 25-30 years of extreme temperatures. The final goal is to combine perovskite with silicon. The tandem of these materials potentially promises much greater efficiency, “says the scientist.
White and his team have been working on improving perovskite photocells for many years. This material combines inexpensive chemical elements: carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, iodine and lead. “Ninety-five percent of solar panels are made from silicon. This is a very good material, but it will reach its maximum efficiency in the next 5-10 years. To create a high-quality tandem panel, the performance of materials must be at its maximum. Silicon is not much improved, so we took for perovskite, “says White.
The new efficiency record means that perovskite solar panels can now produce 216 watts of electricity per square meter.
“When the panels are small, it is difficult to measure the indicators, and scaling does not always reflect the real picture. We have the highest result in terms of the minimum area – a square centimeter,” the researcher clarified.
To achieve the record, one of the team members, Dr. Zhong Peng, developed a new nanostructured material. The scientist himself explained: “An efficient panel must give high voltage and current values. It is difficult to achieve this at the same time, but it is possible thanks to the nanostructured layer of our batteries.”
The results were confirmed by the CSIRO photovoltaic laboratory. It alone in the Southern Hemisphere has the authority to certify solar cell performance according to international standards. The study was funded by the Renewable Energy Agency.