Large area perovskite solar cell efficiency hits 12%

December 05, 2016 // By Nick Flaherty
The race to boost the efficiency of large perovskite solar cells continues with researchers at the University of New South Wales in Australia claiming a new record figure of 12% and looking to double the performance within the next year.

The 12.1% efficiency rating was for a 16 cm 2 perovskite solar cell, the largest single perovskite photovoltaic cell certified with the highest energy conversion efficiency, and was independently confirmed at the international testing centre run by Newport Corp in Bozeman, Montana. The new cell is at least 10 times bigger than the current certified high-efficiency perovskite solar cells on record.

The team also achieved an 18% efficiency rating on a 1.2 cm 2 single perovskite cell, and an 11.5% for a  16 cm 2 four-cell perovskite mini-module with a process that allows larger cystal grains to form.

“This is a very hot area of research, with many teams competing to advance photovoltaic design,” said Anita Ho-Baillie, a Senior Research Fellow at the Australian Centre for Advanced Photovoltaics (ACAP), and leader of the reaearch team (above). “Perovskites came out of nowhere in 2009, with an efficiency rating of 3.8%, and have since grown in leaps and bounds. ! think we can get to 24% within a year or so.” The project’s goal is to lift perovskite solar cell efficiency to 26%.

Perovskites use a hybrid organic-inorganic lead or tin halide-based material as the light-harvesting active layer and are popular because the compound is cheap to produce and simple to manufacture at low temperatures, and can even be sprayed onto surfaces. “The versatility of solution deposition of perovskite makes it possible to spray-coat, print or paint on solar cells,” said Ho-Baillie. “The diversity of chemical compositions also allows cells be transparent, or made of different colours."

The research is part of a A$3.6 million (US$2.6 m, €2.5m) project for the Australian Renewable Energy Agency’s  (ARENA) ‘solar excellence’ initiative.