Australian Scientists Just Set A Solar Power Efficiency World Record (Again)

Australian Scientists Just Set A Solar Power Efficiency World Record (Again)
Image: Stuart Hay, ANU

A team of researchers at The Australian National University have achieved 26 per cent efficiency in semi-transparent perovskite solar cells – making them a potential low-cost alternative for silicon cells, which currently make up 90 per cent of the market.

Perovskite is a material with a lattice-like structure that can help harvest light. The new efficiency record was achieved by mechanically combining perovskite with silicon solar cells.

“Until now efficiencies of this kind have only been achieved using high cost materials normally used on satellites,” said researcher Mr Duong, a PhD student. “We are now a step closer to a low cost alternative.”

Professor Kylie Catchpole from the ANU Research School of Engineering said the advances in solar technology were good news for consumers, although the perovskite cells were not yet ready for use on rooftops.

“This breakthrough opens the way to increasing the efficiency of silicon solar cells further, and in a cheap way,” Professor Catchpole said. “The key challenge for now is achieving the same stability as we have with silicon solar cells that can be put out on a roof for 20 years using perovskite. Over the next few years we are planning to increase efficiencies to 30 per cent and beyond.”

This work was part of the “High-efficiency silicon/perovskite solar cells” project led by University of New South Wales with research partners ANU, Monash University, Arizona State University, Suntech R&D Australia Pty Ltd and Trina Solar. The research to make more efficient, affordable, stable and reliable solar is supported by $3.6 million in funding from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency.

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[Advanced Energy Materials]