Technology

Can the most exciting new solar materials arrive on schedule?

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Although perovskite may reach high efficiency (This world record For batteries containing only perovskites, only slightly more than 25%), most of today’s best-performing perovskite batteries are very small—less than an inch wide.

Expanding scale makes it more difficult to reach potential efficiency limits. At present, Saule’s panels are one meter wide and the efficiency reaches about 10%. This is dwarfed by commercial silicon panels of similar size, whose efficiency usually reaches about 20%.

Olga MalinkevichSaule’s founder and chief technology officer stated that the company’s goal is to introduce a solar cell that uses only perovskite. If the technology is cheap enough, the lower efficiency is irrelevant.

Saule is trying to enter areas where silicon solar panels cannot: roofs that cannot withstand the weight of heavy glass-encapsulated panels, or more specialized applications, such as solar blinds that the company is currently testing.

Although Saule is launching thin-film products for more niche applications, other companies hope to beat or at least join silicon in their games.Headquartered in the UK Oxford Photovoltaic Incorporating perovskite Perovskite-silicon battery combination.

Since silicon absorbs light at the red end of the visible spectrum and the perovskite can be adjusted to absorb different wavelengths, coating a layer of perovskite on top of the silicon cell can make the combined cell achieve higher efficiency than using silicon alone.

Oxford PV battery packs are heavy and hard, just like pure silicon batteries. But because they are the same size and shape, the new batteries can be easily inserted into the roof array or solar farm panels.

Oxford PV combines perovskite and silicon to make high-efficiency solar cells.

Oxford Photovoltaic

Chris KeysOxford PV’s chief technology officer stated that the company is focused on reducing the levelized cost of electricity, which is an indicator that affects system installation and life cycle operating costs. Although layering perovskites on silicon will increase manufacturing costs, he said that over time, the average cost of assembled cells should be lower than silicon because these new cells are more efficient. In the past few years, Oxford University has set a number of world records for the efficiency of this type of battery, the most recent being 29.5%.

Trace semiconductorA Chinese perovskite company based in Hangzhou also took some clues from silicon solar cells. The company is using rigid glass-encapsulated batteries made of perovskite to make panels.

Microquanta’s pilot plant will open in 2020 and is expected to have a production capacity of 100 MW by the end of the year. Buyi Yan, The company’s chief technology officer. The company has installed demonstration panels on several buildings and solar farms across China.

Solve stability

In a few years, the stability of the perovskite has increased from a few minutes to a few months. But most silicon batteries installed today have a warranty of about 25 years, which is a goal that perovskites may not yet be able to achieve.

Perovskites are particularly sensitive to oxygen and moisture, which can interfere with the bonds in the crystal and prevent electrons from effectively passing through the material. Researchers have been working to improve the service life of perovskite by developing less reactive perovskite formulations and finding better packaging methods.

Oxford PV, Microquanta and Saule all stated that they have solved the stability problem, at least enough to sell their first batch of products.

Estimating the long-term performance of solar cells is usually done through accelerated testing, where the cell or panel is placed under additional stress to simulate years of wear and tear. The most common test kit for outdoor silicon batteries is a series of tests called IEC 61215.

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