Yaoneng (Auner), a Chinese company specializing in PV cells featuring the tandem layers design, has announced that a small-size perovskite-silicon tandem PV cell that it developed in-house has achieved a stable conversion efficiency rate of 32.44%. China’s National Institute of Metrology has served as a third-party tester and confirmed this result. Just only three months ago, Yaoneng broke the domestic record for the conversion efficiency of a tandem PV cell. The latest rate of 32.44% represents another new high. Yaoneng’s announcement was first picked up by other Chinese renewable energy news websites.
A tandem PV cell that comprises a perovskite layer and a c-Si layer is a design concept that quickly gained traction within the PV industry during 2022. The main reason why tandem cells have attracted significant attention is the potential for massive increases in efficiency rate. So far, record-breaking highs have been achieved repeatedly for tandem cells in a laboratory setting. Also, HBZ, a German company, currently holds the international record for the highest efficiency rate of a small-size tandem cell with 32.5%. This is 5.9 percentage points higher than the highest rate that is currently attained by a c-Si cell (i.e., 26.81%). A tandem cell that can reach the efficiency level of 35% appears to be a very promising prospect within the next several years. In the future, the tandem layers design is expected to eventually apply to PV cells that are larger in size format and capable of entering industrial or mass production.
For participants in the PV industry, raising conversion efficiency has been the chief means of cutting cost over the past several decades. Nevertheless, the significant amounts resources and manpower expended by the industry’s elite in the R&D of PV cells have mostly led to incremental efficiency gains. However, the recent emergence of perovskite appears to bring about dramatic changes in the development of PV cells. The application of perovskite in various PV-related applications has been proceeding at a very rapid pace. In particular, huge leaps have been made in the adoption of perovskite in the designs of tandem cells, leading to a sharp upward climb in conversion efficiency. Within a short period, perovskite has gained an exponential amount of recognition as the next-generation PV material.
Yaoneng was established in 2017 and is regarded as one of the early pioneers in the development of perovskite PV cells. The company was originally a US-based research group that began looking into perovskite PV cells in 2013. Later, the group was registered as a privately-held company headquartered in Beijing. Yaoneng focuses on tandem cells and works to improve the stability of the PV materials that their products are made of. Furthermore, the company is among the global top three in terms of conversion efficiency in a laboratory setting. Yaoneng also boasts that its core R&D team is made up graduates from the engineering and material science departments of the world’s top universities.
In 2019, Yaoneng completed the construction of its R&D center in Beijing. The facility is being used to accelerate commercialization of perovskite and tandem cells. The company is also setting up the “Phase II R&D Center” that is also located in Beijing. The new facility is going to be used for building cells and modules that are ready for full-scale commercialization.