Perovskite will be a “game changer” for solar efficiency  

Named after a 19th Century Russian count, Perovskite threatens to revolutionise the solar industry with its blistering efficiency.

Everyday enough solar radiation hits the earth to power it thousands of times over, the only limits have been solar panel efficiency and proliferation. Around 85% of existing solar panels have been manufactured using silicon, a cheap material with approximately 15% efficiency in converting sunshine into usable electricity, peaking at 25% efficiency at the very high end.

Efforts to produce perovskite solar panels have been promising, with efficiency rates rapidly improving to 20%. Absorbing energy from energy spectrum that silicon can not, it is feasible that a silicon/perovskite hybrid panels could reach an efficiency yield as high as 30%. Achievements involving perovskite were lauded as one of the biggest scientific breakthroughs in 2013.

This figure is predicted to increase to 50% in the next few years, although it’s expected that silicon will remain in favour with manufacturers as the production costs continue to fall.

Bloomberg New Energy Finance representative Jenny Chase has been quick to praise researcher’s breakthrough, “not because of where they are, but because they’re getting better really, really fast.”

“The rate of progress in the lab has been astounding,” said Chase.

Efficiency improves solar panel yields in a number of ways. It makes each module more productive, meaning solar panels can be smaller and/or more can be installed on residential and commercial rooftops. It also delivers comparable energy production for a cheaper cost, continuing the downward trend of solar investment costs of the last five years or so.

It also brings solar one step closer to overtaking fossil fuels as our incumbent resource for primary electricity demand.

Attempts at replacing silicon with nickle was disappointing, with the best results only reaching 10.4%. Proclaiming perovskites as the future of solar remains premature, however it has far-outpaced competitors with its rapid development.

Like all disruptive technologies, it is unlikely that customers will experience an immediate or dramatic reduction in the price of solar systems – nor is it will be prudent to tear your existing solar panels off your roof any time soon.

Progression in the solar industry is determined by a complicated network of market and pricing signals. We all love getting a great price on a reliable solar system, but advancement often occurs slower than we would like.

To discuss the potential of solar for you, contact Solar Sunwerx for a free energy audit and solar consultation.