The solar industry has gone through a massive transformation throughout the years. Different technologies have come up in the market. It has made solar system installation more efficient and affordable.
A recent breakthrough is a class of material called perovskite. This material is used to make solar cells, which are then used to construct solar panels.
Like other solar cells, these solar cells are fitted to the solar panels to absorb energy from the sunlight.
But there is a significant reason for its hype in the solar industry.
Perovskite cells are more efficient than silicon ones as they can absorb more power in current times. Besides, they come at a lower price.
Curious to know more? Let’s dive in and explore this material.
What Is Perovskite?
Let’s start with its origin – naturally, the name has a history we’d like to share with you.
Well, this name originated from Lev Perovski – a mineralogist who continued his research on this material. This name was further given to calcium titanium oxide.
Although the components that make these solar cells are not calcium titanium oxide, the structure is similar.
How Does Perovskite Function?
We’ll now discuss how this compound functions.
- – As discussed earlier, this compound is used in making solar cells
- – Once manufactured, the manufacturer incorporates the perovskite solar cells to make solar panels
- – Then, these solar panels are patched with other components that make a solar system (solar inverters, mounting structures, solar accessories)
- – The panels’ semiconductors collect energy from the sunlight and release electrons
- – These electrons are converted to alternating current and then supplied to households for charging the appliances
Before you ask, yes, they function like conventional solar panels but more efficiently.
How Does the Perovskite Solar Cell Look Like?
These solar cells look different from the standard Al-BSF c-Si silicon solar cell.
The absorber layer comes in two types: mesoporous and planar. The planar layer eradicates the mesoporous layer and leaves only one absorbing layer behind.
This absorbing layer is placed between Electron Transporting Layer (ETL) and a Hole Transporting Layer (HTL) to form the perovskite solar cell.
Remember: The order of the layers is not the same for all cells. It depends on what the structure is like. But this is what the basic structure of this solar cell is.
Difference between Perovskite and Crystalline Silicon Solar Cells
While both silicon solar cells and Perovskite solar cells aim to draw the maximum energy possible from sunlight, they have a few differences.
- – Crystalline silicon solar cells have existed for years, but perovskite is a new invention
- – The efficiency of monocrystalline silicon panels is 19% to 20%. The efficiency of polycrystalline crystalline silicon panels is 16% to 17%. The efficiency of Perovskite panels is approximately 30%
- – The crystalline silicon cells’ service life is 25-30 years, whereas, for the other, it is 2.5 years
- – The light absorption potential of crystalline silicon cells is 1100 nm. On the other hand, the perovskite solar cells’ absorption potential is 850 nm
- – The price of the ones is less than the crystalline silicon cell
- – The temperature coefficient of Perovskite is -0.13%/ºC. For mono panels, it’s -0.39%/ºC and for poly panels, it’s -0.38%/ºC
Difference between the New Solar Cells and Other Thin Film Technologies
An interesting fact to know about these solar cells is that they are one of the thin-film technologies available in the solar industry.
As discussed above, these solar cells are highly efficient (about 30%). In fact, their cost is also less. Their temperature coefficient is also higher than the other cells.
Another essential feature of this solar cell is that you can use it for residential applications since its price is comparatively lower than the others.
Difference between the Types of Tandem Solar Cells
Before knowing the types and discussing the difference between them, it is crucial to understand what tandem solar cells are.
The tandem solar cells are the two variations of perovskite solar cells. They have two subdivisions: the perovskite-perovskite solar cell and the perovskite-silicon tandem solar cell.
The former is more efficient than the standard photovoltaic cells as well as the latter (perovskite-silicon) in three following ways.
- – First, the fabrication process is less complex
- – Second, it is easy to recycle and doesn’t require a lot of power for the procedure
- – Third, it pays back the investment cost faster than traditional solar cells
Pros and Cons That You Should Know
We have already discussed how perovskite solar cells can be better than other solar cells, but now let’s discuss the advantages and disadvantages of this material in detail.
- – This compound is highly efficient
- – It has a low-cost manufacturing process
- – It is suitable for all sorts of solar power production
- – A significant drawback of this material is that it wears away when in contact with light, heat, moisture, and oxygen after some months of use
- – The material’s commercialisation has not yet started
- – This material generates a toxic lead. The manufacturers are trying to reduce this toxicity
Perovskite solar cells are highly efficient and can compete well with silicon solar cells.
However, toxicity is a major challenge that will have to be sorted out first before the mass adoption of these solar cells.
A lot of research is being conducted to overcome such drawbacks.
Bear in mind, these cells have a vast potential to grow in the industry as they can generate more energy and come at a cheaper rate.
For 60 years, the manufacturers have been trying to tackle this material’s challenges. With the technology boom that the world has now seen, Perovskite might soon be ready for the world.
Q. What is the lifespan of perovskite solar cells?
The lifespan of these solar cells is 30 months or 2.5 years (A major limitation when compared with silicon solar panels).
Q. Is perovskite solar cells – the future of solar energy?
Yes, they are considered the future of solar energy as they can substantially reduce the cost of solar systems. Their lifespan and toxicity level will have to be first sorted out though.
Q. Where can the perovskite solar cells be used?
These solar cells can be used for industrial, residential, commercial, tactical, Building Integrated Photovoltaics (BIPV), and space applications.