A Detailed Overview of Function, Pricing, and Benefits of a Perovskite Solar Cell
The best thing about technology is that it keeps evolving to improve the living standard of people. From horse carts to comfortable fast cars, from hand-operated fans to inverter AC, everything around us keeps advancing to make our lives convenient.
Do you know what is the latest development in the field of solar power generation? The answer is perovskite solar cell!
Although this technology is under development, it is expected to increase the efficiency of solar cells.
You will be amazed to know that in the research and development phase, its efficiency increased from 10% to 20% in just 2 years.
Interested to know more about this latest technology which promises to make living sustainable? If so, continue reading!
What is a Perovskite Solar Cell?
Russian mineralogist Lev Perovski first researched the absorber minerals of perovskite in 2006, and its successful results were published in 2009.
The crystal structure of perovskites has a close similarity to the structure of calcium titanium oxide. However, the perovskite solar cell does not contain this mineral.
Then what is used to make this cell?
Various minerals like lead, methyl ammonium, chlorine, and iodine are used for this cell. All these materials are known to absorb relatively more sunlight than silicon.
Therefore, a perovskite solar cell produces more power by converting more sunlight into usable electricity. Now let’s understand the manufacturing of these cells.
Making of the Perovskite Solar Cell
The manufacturing of a perovskite solar cell consists of various chemical formulae, which is better understood by scientists.
However, for the general public, it is necessary to understand various steps of manufacturing this cell for its proper maintenance.
The following points explain the different steps of manufacturing perovskite films:
- – Manufacturers start by mixing materials like methylammonium halide, methylammonium lead iodide, and other additives.
- – In the next step, the chemical solution is poured on a substrate like metal oxide, glass, silicon solar cell, flexible polymer, or transparent wood. However, instead of directly pouring the solutions on the substrate, manufacturers use methods like spray and drip to reduce wastage and attain an even thickness.
- – The substrate is spun at high speed to spread the solution throughout the surface.
- – Afterward, the solvent evaporates to leave behind the perovskite film.
Working of a Perovskite Solar Cell
A perovskite solar cell functions similarly to other photovoltaic technologies. This means it absorbs sunlight to generate electricity.
But how exactly does solar energy convert to usable electricity?
When the sunlight hits the absorber layer of perovskite, the photons present in the light collide with the electrons, creating electric charges.
The activated electrons move towards the hole transport layer or HTL, which takes the electron to the conductors to power the load.
Afterward, the electron transport layer or ETL of the perovskite solar cell collects the electrons and also restricts their backflow.
This step of power generation with a perovskite solar cell increases its efficiency because the backflow of electrons results in power loss.
Power Generation From a Perovskite Solar Cell
Now that you know the working of perovskite solar panels, you must be thinking about how much power it produces.
Although a fully operating perovskite solar system is yet to hit the market, it is gaining much popularity for its high efficiency.
You will be amazed that various research has concluded its highest efficiency to be about 30%. This is way more than crystalline silicon solar panels. Moreover, in the coming years, this figure will further improve with extensive research.
Therefore, the world is looking forward to this technology to meet their residential, industrial, and commercial power requirements.
Pricing of Perovskite Solar Cell
The cost of the solar system is something that attracts everyone’s attention. You will be surprised to know that apart from being highly efficient, the perovskite solar system is relatively more affordable than any other photovoltaic system.
These solar cells have a very thin absorber layer, which generally ranges between 0.2 mm to 0.4 mm. This extensively reduces their production cost resulting in lower cell prices.
Generally, a Polycrystalline silicon solar cell costs nearly ₹25.5/watt, and a monocrystalline silicon solar cell costs nearly ₹31/watt. Whereas, a Perovskite cell’s current price is nearly ₹12-13 per watt. Moreover, with further advancement, its price may reduce to ₹7-8 per watt.
Pros and Cons of Perovskite Solar Cell
Perovskite technology is a highly promising development for the solar power generation industry. Let’s look at the crucial benefits of perovskite:
- – It is easy and convenient to manufacture
- – The efficient spreading of absorbent solution reduces wastage, which further limits production costs
- – Suitable for converting maximum sunlight into electricity
- – It does not use rare metals for production
- – The production of perovskite requires almost 20 times lesser materials than a traditional silicon cell
- – Manufacturers need relatively low power for their production in comparison to silicon solar panels
- – Tunable bandgap between the layers with inverse charge materials facilitates maximum power production
Although there are multiple benefits of perovskite, it does come with certain drawbacks. These include the following:
- – Perovskites easily break down with constant exposure to heat, oxygen, light, and moisture. Therefore, it needs more research and development for better stabilisation
- – High-efficiency perovskite cells use lead, a neurotoxic substance. However, scientists are working hard to produce toxin-free perovskites
Before this new gen of solar cells takes the world by storm, scientists will have to work on making them non-toxic.
Why isn’t Solar Energy More Popular?
Solar energy is an extremely convenient and sustainable way of powering electrical appliances.
Moreover, there are different types of solar cells available in the market for residential and commercial utility. However, it is relatively less popular than conventional power generation methods that use fossil fuels.
The primary reason is that the solar energy system requires a slightly higher investment to install panels, inverters, and storage batteries. But, if you compare the long-term benefits of going solar, the initial investment is negligible.
Moreover, the advancement in technology provides access to highly affordable solar solutions to generate eco-friendly energy.
The rising price of commercial grid electricity increases people’s demand for affordable alternatives to meet power requirements.
Therefore, with each passing day, researchers make new advancements to provide an efficient solution for electricity production.
A perovskite solar cell has a high potential to generate solar power that is sufficient to run all your home appliances so that you can reduce your dependency on the utility grid.
Q1. What is the maximum efficiency of perovskite during the research phase?
The perovskite cells have solar power generation efficiency of approximately 30%. This is expected to increase with further development.
Q. What are the natural factors that affect perovskite structure?
Perovskite’s sunlight-absorbing layer deteriorates and breaks with repeated exposure to moisture, light, oxygen, and heat.
Q. What are the substrate materials suitable for perovskite’s light absorbing layer?
Manufacturers use metal oxide, silicon solar cells, glass, flexible polymer, and transparent wood to spread chemical solutions for absorbing light in perovskite cells.