Cheap perovskite boosts commercial solar cell energy conversion by 20%

UCLA created a double layer solar cell by spraying a thin layer of perovskite onto a commercially available solar cell. The solar cell that forms the bottom layer of the device is made of a compound of copper, indium, gallium and selenide, or CIGS.

The new cell converts 22.4% of the incoming energy from the sun, a record in power conversion efficiency for a perovskite–CIGS tandem solar cell. The performance was confirmed in independent tests at the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

The cell’s CIGS base layer, which is about 2 microns (or two-thousandths of a millimeter) thick, absorbs sunlight and generates energy at a rate of 18.7 percent efficiency on its own, but adding the 1 micron-thick perovskite layer improves its efficiency — much like how adding a turbocharger to a car engine can improve its performance. The two layers are joined by a nanoscale interface that the UCLA researchers designed; the interface helps give the device higher voltage, which increases the amount of power it can export.

And the entire assembly sits on a glass substrate that’s about 2 millimeters thick.

“Our technology boosted the existing CIGS solar cell performance by nearly 20 percent from its original performance,” Yang said. “That means a 20 percent reduction in energy costs.”

He added that devices using the two-layer design could eventually approach 30 percent power conversion efficiency. That will be the research group’s next goal.

Science – High-performance perovskite/Cu(In,Ga)Se2 monolithic tandem solar cells

Perovskite/CIGS tandem cells

Tandem solar cells can boost efficiency by using more of the available solar spectrum. Han et al. fabricated a two-terminal tandem cell with an inorganic-organic hybrid perovskite top layer and a Cu(In,Ga)Se2 (CIGS) bottom layer. Control of the roughness of the CIGS surface and the use of a heavily doped organic hole transport layer were crucial to achieve a 22.4% power conversion efficiency. The unencapsulated tandem cells maintained almost 90% of their efficiency after 500 hours of operation under ambient conditions.

Abstract

The combination of hybrid perovskite and Cu(In,Ga)Se2 (CIGS) has the potential for realizing high-efficiency thin-film tandem solar cells because of the complementary tunable bandgaps and excellent photovoltaic properties of these materials. In tandem solar device architectures, the interconnecting layer plays a critical role in determining the overall cell performance, requiring both an effective electrical connection and high optical transparency. We used nanoscale interface engineering of the CIGS surface and a heavily doped poly[bis(4-phenyl)(2,4,6-trimethylphenyl)amine] (PTAA) hole transport layer between the subcells that preserves open-circuit voltage and enhances both the fill factor and short-circuit current. A monolithic perovskite/CIGS tandem solar cell achieved a 22.43% efficiency, and unencapsulated devices under ambient conditions maintained 88% of their initial efficiency after 500 hours of aging under continuous 1-sun illumination.

15 thoughts on “Cheap perovskite boosts commercial solar cell energy conversion by 20%”

  1. Does this lower California’s cost of going 100{22800fc54956079738b58e74e4dcd846757aa319aad70fcf90c97a58f3119a12} clean energy to $300 billion?

    Reply
  2. The unencapsulated tandem cells maintained almost 90% of their efficiency after 500 hours of operation under ambient conditions. WOW 300 hours?

    Reply
  3. The unencapsulated tandem cells maintained almost 90{22800fc54956079738b58e74e4dcd846757aa319aad70fcf90c97a58f3119a12} of their efficiency after 500 hours of operation under ambient conditions.WOW 300 hours?

    Reply
  4. Brian’s analysis assumed 100% renewable. California’s SB 100 bill is 60% renewable. So its a non sequitur. But yes it would mean that going to 60% renewable in California that the additional cost will be zero if this went mainstream.

    Reply
  5. Brian’s analysis assumed 100{22800fc54956079738b58e74e4dcd846757aa319aad70fcf90c97a58f3119a12} renewable.California’s SB 100 bill is 60{22800fc54956079738b58e74e4dcd846757aa319aad70fcf90c97a58f3119a12} renewable.So its a non sequitur.But yes it would mean that going to 60{22800fc54956079738b58e74e4dcd846757aa319aad70fcf90c97a58f3119a12} renewable in California that the additional cost will be zero if this went mainstream.

    Reply
  6. You do know that California would have to spend $300 billion no matter what they did. Fossil Fuel and nuclear power plants are not free and even their maintenance cost money. Plus there is the cost of fuel. The renewable may actually be a lot cheaper in the long run.

    Reply
  7. You do know that California would have to spend $300 billion no matter what they did. Fossil Fuel and nuclear power plants are not free and even their maintenance cost money. Plus there is the cost of fuel. The renewable may actually be a lot cheaper in the long run.

    Reply
  8. Brian’s analysis assumed 100% renewable.

    California’s SB 100 bill is 60% renewable.

    So its a non sequitur.

    But yes it would mean that going to 60% renewable in California that the additional cost will be zero if this went mainstream.

    Reply
  9. You do know that California would have to spend $300 billion no matter what they did. Fossil Fuel and nuclear power plants are not free and even their maintenance cost money. Plus there is the cost of fuel.

    The renewable may actually be a lot cheaper in the long run.

    Reply

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