Once seen as fleeting, a new solar tech shines on and on

Written by
Scott Lyon
Scott Lyon, Chemical and Biological Engineering
June 16, 2022

Princeton Engineering researchers have developed the first perovskite solar cell with a commercially viable lifetime, marking a major milestone for an emerging class of renewable energy technology. The team projects their device can perform above industry standards for around 30 years, far more than the 20 years used as a threshold for viability for solar cells.

Perovskites are semiconductors with a special crystal structure that makes them well suited for solar cell technology. But, until now, perovskite solar cells, created between 2009 and 2012, lasted only minutes. The projected lifetime of the new device represents a five-fold increase over the previous record, set by a lower efficiency perovskite solar cell in 2017. 

The Princeton team, led by Lynn Loo, the Theodora D. '78 and William H. Walton III '74 Professor in Engineering, revealed their new device and their new method for testing in a paper published June 16 in Science.

“We might have the record today,” she said, “but someone else is going to come along with a better record tomorrow. The really exciting thing is that we now have a way to test these devices and know how they will perform in the long term.”

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