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Game-changing perovskite solar cell blows roof off efficiency records

Major breakthrough promises to increase energy output and accessibility. 

When the first perovskite solar cells [PSCs] were introduced, the technology could offer 3.8% efficiency, far behind silicone alternatives, but with a far lower price point. 

As research continued, the numbers improved, hitting 20% efficiency in recent years. Now a team at Oxford PV, a spin-off company utilising developments at Oxford University, believes it can deliver 26.9% efficiency by using a tandem design. 

Comprising both perovskite and silicone, the blueprint offers ‘unprecedented solar conversion efficiency’, exceeding alternatives – including silicone-only, which provides 25% efficiency. The 1.6% separating the two technologies is significant, in the long run potentially leading to reductions in footprint from production and manufacturing, transportation and installation. Fewer panels are needed to achieve the same output.

‘Homeowners along with commercial and utility customers will all benefit from upwards of 20% more power with the same footprint,’ said David Ward, CEO at Oxford PV. ‘Not only does this save installation costs, it also speeds up the decarbonisation journey and can contribute to the global energy transition in a meaningful way.’

The US Government Department of Energy is another advocate of perovskite research, and has already put out a call for companies to begin organising to begin mass production of tandem solar cells under the PRIMES Perovskite Tandem PV program. It is hoped the technology can help bring down the cost of solar in residential properties, contributing to wider reductions in domestic energy use and bills, and worldwide emissions from the built environment, which currently accounts for almost 50% of total greenhouse gas output. 

More on energy: 

Hydropower producing 90% of global stored electricity, but world needs double

Pembrokeshire enlists former oil worker to promote renewables careers

Quick question: How do vanadium flow batteries stabilise a renewable grid?

Image: Oxford PV

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