A closer look at perovskites, the potential solar cell sweet spot
Katherine Bourzac at MIT Technology Review has taken a closer look at perovskites, the potential new wonder material that "could lead to commercial solar cells that hit a sweet spot of high performance and low cost".
Certain perovskites can harvest the energy of sunlight very efficiently because they strongly absorb both visible and infrared light. And unlike silicon films, which are made at high temperatures, perovskite films can be made from solution at much lower temperatures. It should be possible to make perovskite solar cells using low-cost, low-energy methods such as printing.
We're not quite there yet as the Bourzac explains. There have been problems in making high quality perovskite solar cells consistently. “When you make 10 different perovskite cells, you get 10 different efficiencies,” says Prashant Kamat, a chemist at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana. “It’s frustrating.”
Nevertheless, it's worth persisting. Some are forecasting 20% efficiency from the materials in the short-term.
A previous post on the potential of perovskites here.