Australia has long had high expectations of solar energy and set a goal to reduce the cost of solar energy to AUD 0.30 per installed watt by 2030 along with a 30% solar-cell efficiency. The chance of achieving this goal has become high as The Australian National University (ANU) proposed a tandem cell with an efficiency of 30.3% by stacking a perovskite cell on a silicon cell.
Based on a previous study conducted by ANU in 2020, the research team was funded by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), which promised to provide AUD 40 million to achieve the country’s Solar 30 30 30 goal. The team claimed that the proposed perovskite-silicon cell is exceptionally efficient along with enhanced stability.
Despite a high conversion efficiency, perovskite cells are infamously unstable with little commercialization possibility. Unlike its predecessors, the perovskite-silicon cell created by the ANU team does not contain methylammonium (MA), and has higher thermal stability. The researchers also added 4M-PEACl to enlarge the perovskite crystal grains and suppress cell defects considerably.
Research member The Duong revealed that by utilizing the advantages of solar and perovskite cells, the team enabled the top perovskite cell to effectively absorb blue light and transmit red light to the silicon cell at the bottom with more energy generated compared to a single cell. The experimental silicon cell had an efficiency of 26.81% at maximum, while the commercial module had a nearly 20% efficiency.
As Duong indicated, exceeding the 30% efficiency level is meaningful because the percentage is the commercialization threshold of tandem technologies like that used in their study. Tandem technologies are projected to be commercialized in 2026, but more research is required to upgrade and ensure stable running of tandem solar cells in the next 25 to 30 years.
(Photo credit: Flickr/David Goehring CC BY 2.0)