World over, crystalline silicon technology (denoted as c-Si) has been dominating the solar market with around 90% of total market share. With newer and better solar technologies emerging over time, there has been significant attention in the recent past on perovskite solar cells.
Perovskite solar cells that is made up of a perovskite-structured compound. Perovskites comprise organic molecules such as carbon and hydrogen that bind with a metal such as lead and a halogen such as chlorine in a three-dimensional crystal lattice. Scientists claim perovskite solar cells can be made cheaper and with fewer emissions.
Perovskites have become the fastest advancing solar technology with solar cell efficiencies having increased from 2.2% in 2006 to 22.1% in early 2016. They are opening up a big market mainly because they address three major limitations of conventional solar cells.
- Made from silicon that is rarely found in pure form and requires high energy to process
- Weight which is more compared to perovskites
- Power conversion efficiency which hasn’t increased considerably, but for perovskites, it has increased 5-fold in the last 7 years and shows great potential for improvement
- Other value propositions of perovskites include flexibility, semi-transparency, thin film etc.
Perovskites are getting commercially competitive with crystalline silicon technologies. But there are some challenges pertaining to the longevity of perovskites, how they perform under weather conditions and scaling their production.
The promise of greater efficiencies combined with lower production costs indicates that perovskite solar panels will soon be commercially available in the market, possibly even as soon as 2017. And this is a technology disruptor to look out for!