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PV Advancement Could Improve Efficiency
➙Perovskite solar cells have been of interest in the energy community
since their initial development
because they are easy and inexpensive to
fabricate. Initially, however, that enthu-
siasm was curbed due to their inefficient
energy production. When they were
developed in 2009, they could only convert
photons to electricity at a rate of 3%.
PEROVSKITE SOLAR CELLS have reached a new
threshold of efficiency, bringing them closer to
challenging silicon cells in the marketplace.
However, perovskite solar cells have improved to 22% efficiency today, making it
the most rapid improvement in efficiency
of any other material to date. This enhancement also brings its efficiency much
closer to that of silicon solar cells.
Berkeley National Laboratory found a
specific characteristic of a perovskite
solar cell that could extend beyond its
current capabilities and achieve up to 31%
In terms of practicality, there are more
steps needed to make this type of efficiency work consistently. Nonetheless, the
researchers are optimistic. “These results
open the door to exploring new ways to
control the development of the material’s
facets to dramatically increase efficiency,”
says Francesca Toma, another Berkeley
The fervor surrounding the possibilities
of perovskite solar cells recently became
even more substantial after researchers
at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence
With perovskite solar cells, the problem
has always been that on an individual
basis, some of a cell’s facets work well and
other work poorly. In the past, currents
have flowed towards the bad facets, mean-
ing inefficient results. However, the mate-
rial can be manipulated so only the highly
efficient facets would be put to work. This
would resolve the inefficiency problems
that researchers have long faced.
“This was a big surprise. It shows, for
the first time, that perovskite solar cells
exhibit facet-dependent photovoltaic efficiency,” says Alexander Weber-Bargioni,
one of the authors of this research.
While the development of these solar
cells on a large scale will not happen immediately, this research suggests that easy,
inexpensive and efficient solar energy
solutions could be on the way.
For more information about the research and Berkeley Lab, visit www.lbl.
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