Scientists have been researching the development of so-called perovskite solar panels for years. A new breakthrough could now significantly reduce the price of common panels.
As part of the energy transition, many nations continue to rely on energy from the sun. Gigantic solar parks are being built all over the world that supply entire cities with energy during the day. But despite the significantly lower prices, solar panels are usually still relatively expensive. But that could change soon.
A research team at the University of Michigan recently achieved a breakthrough in solar technology. As a result, the prices for solar panels could fall two to four times in the medium term. This progress is based on the further development of perovskite solar cells.
Perovskite solar panels are more sustainable and efficient
After all, experts have been treating perovskite cells as a possible alternative to conventional silicon solar cells for years. Past studies have already demonstrated the comparatively cost-effective production and high efficiency of the alternative material. At the same time, production at lower temperatures is possible. For comparison: silicon panels require temperatures of over 1,000 degrees Celsius during production.
Perovskite therefore reduces both economic and environmental costs compared to traditional solar cells. However, the main problem lies in their poor durability in heat, humidity and air. This has so far led to little commercial use. The research team therefore focused on improving the durability of the cells.
Molecules bind lead atoms and prevent wear
The researchers discovered that so-called “defect-removing” molecules can significantly increase the stability of perovskite cells. These molecules bind uncoordinated lead atoms in the perovskite crystals, preventing further defects from forming at high temperatures.
By using different additives, the team was able to identify the ideal size and configuration of these molecules to maximize cell lifespan.
Another advantage of this technology is the ability to combine perovskite cells with traditional silicon cells to create so-called “tandem” solar cells. These could exceed the maximum theoretical efficiency of silicon solar cells. This could finally advance the acceptance and use of perovskite solar cells.