Silicon systems currently dominate the commercial solar cell landscape because they are efficient and durable. But their production is energy intensive. The future of commercial solar energy rests on engineers’ ability to create highly efficient, low-cost and durable systems. A new study published November 25 in the journal Science, with key contributions from Princeton researchers, describes near-record efficiency in an emerging class of low-cost solar cells while doubling device stability over time, using materials known as perovskites.
Perovskite solar cells produced from inks at ambient temperatures could lower both the energy budget and the financial costs of solar cell production. While the efficiency of the new perovskite device approaches that of top-notch silicon cells (around 25 percent, compared with around 26 percent for silicon), silicon solar cells last more than 100 times longer. If scientists can solve the long-term stability of perovskite systems, these new types of solar cells could – like silicon cells – become ubiquitous in everyday life.
The Princeton engineering team included Professor Lynn Loo and Xiaoming Zhao, a postdoctoral researcher.