Thanks to the cooperation of researchers from various institutes in the Netherlands, the 30% efficiency barrier of solar panels has been overcome. This achievement will help increase the use of solar energy worldwide and reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, says the press release of the organization.
Although governments around the world are promoting the development of solar energy in an effort to reduce carbon emissions, the adoption of this technology is limited by the efficiency of energy conversion. Most commercially available solar panels have 22% energy conversion efficiency.
If this can be improved, it will mean that more electricity can be produced on the same plot of land at a lower cost per unit, increasing energy availability and reducing the final cost to consumers.
To overcome the 30% barrier, researchers from the Netherlands joined forces to create a four-pin perovskite-silicon tandem device. It can make better use of the solar spectrum because it uses a mixture of silicon solar cells with perovskite solar cells. While the former work well with light in the visible and infrared spectrum, perovskites can use wavelengths in the ultraviolet and visible light, while being transparent to infrared light.
In a four-pin tandem device, the top and bottom cells can operate independently, allowing the use of two-way tandems, further increasing the architecture’s power output.
The press release reports that researchers have increased the efficiency of a semi-transparent perovskite element with an area of 3×3 mm² to 19.7%. A 20×20 mm² silicon solar cell was placed under it. The tandem device also had a highly transparent back contact that allowed 93% of near-infrared light to reach the bottom of the device.
The silicon device was optimized according to a number of parameters, which made it possible to increase its efficiency to 10.4%. Together with the perovskite solar cell, the device achieved a combined energy conversion efficiency of 30.1 percent, the best efficiency achieved so far.