Perovskite Solar Cells

Detailed overview of innovation with sample startups and prominent university research

What it is

Perovskite solar cells are an emerging technology with the potential to significantly increase solar cell efficiencies at lower production costs compared to traditional silicon-based cells.

Impact on climate action

Perovskite Solar Cells in Utility Scale Solar PV propel climate action by boosting solar energy conversion efficiency. By offering a cost-effective alternative to traditional silicon-based cells, these innovations increase renewable energy deployment, reduce carbon emissions, and accelerate the transition to a sustainable, low-carbon energy system, mitigating climate change impacts.

Underlying
Technology

  • Perovskite Materials: Perovskites are a class of materials with a unique crystal structure that allows them to efficiently convert sunlight into electricity. They have several advantages over traditional silicon, including lower production costs, high absorption coefficients, and tunable bandgaps.
  • Tandem Solar Cells: Tandem solar cells combine two or more different solar cell materials to capture a wider range of the solar spectrum, resulting in higher efficiencies. Perovskite-silicon tandem cells are a promising technology that combines the high efficiency of perovskites with the stability of silicon.

TRL : 5-6

Prominent Innovation themes

  • Improved Stability and Durability: One of the main challenges with perovskite solar cells is their stability and durability. Researchers and startups are developing new materials and encapsulation techniques to improve the lifespan of perovskite cells.
  • Scalable Manufacturing Processes: Developing scalable and cost-effective manufacturing processes for perovskite solar cells is crucial for their commercialization and widespread adoption. Startups like Saule Technologies are focusing on this area.
  • Flexible and Lightweight Perovskite Cells: Startups like Swift Solar are developing flexible and lightweight perovskite solar cells for applications in portable electronics and electric vehicles.
  • Perovskite-on-Silicon Tandem Cells: Combining perovskite cells with silicon cells in a tandem structure can significantly increase the overall efficiency of solar panels. Oxford PV is a leader in this technology.

Other Innovation Subthemes

  • Crystal Structure Advancements
  • Stability and Durability Enhancements
  • Scalable Manufacturing Innovations
  • Flexible and Lightweight Designs
  • Perovskite-on-Silicon Tandem Cells
  • Material Engineering Breakthroughs
  • Nanotechnology Applications
  • Interface Optimization Strategies
  • Efficiency Enhancement Techniques
  • Cost Reduction Approaches
  • Encapsulation Technologies

Sample Global Startups and Companies

  • Oxford PV:
    • Technology Enhancement: Oxford PV is a leader in the development of perovskite-based solar cells. Their technology involves incorporating perovskite materials into traditional silicon solar cells to enhance their efficiency and performance. By combining the light-absorbing properties of perovskite with the stability of silicon, Oxford PV aims to create next-generation solar cells with higher efficiency and lower manufacturing costs.
    • Uniqueness of the Startup: Oxford PV stands out for its innovative approach to improving solar cell efficiency through perovskite materials. Their technology has the potential to revolutionize the solar industry by significantly increasing energy conversion efficiency and reducing the levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) for solar power.
    • End-User Segments Addressing: Oxford PV serves solar panel manufacturers, utility companies, and renewable energy developers seeking to deploy high-efficiency solar solutions. Their perovskite-based solar cells offer opportunities for increasing energy yield, reducing installation costs, and accelerating the adoption of solar energy worldwide.
  • Saule Technologies:
    • Technology Enhancement: Saule Technologies specializes in the development of perovskite-based thin-film solar cells. Their technology focuses on integrating perovskite solar cells into various surfaces, including building facades, windows, and electronic devices. By leveraging the flexibility and versatility of perovskite materials, Saule Technologies aims to create solar cells that can be seamlessly integrated into architectural designs and consumer products.
    • Uniqueness of the Startup: Saule Technologies stands out for its innovative approach to perovskite solar cell integration, enabling the creation of solar-powered smart surfaces and products. Their technology opens up new possibilities for generating clean energy in urban environments, transforming buildings and everyday objects into energy-generating assets.
    • End-User Segments Addressing: Saule Technologies serves architects, construction companies, electronics manufacturers, and consumer goods producers interested in incorporating solar energy generation into their products and designs. Their perovskite-based solar cells offer opportunities for enhancing energy efficiency, reducing carbon emissions, and promoting sustainable development in urban areas.
  • Swift Solar:
    • Technology Enhancement: Swift Solar focuses on developing lightweight and high-efficiency perovskite solar cells for various applications, including portable electronics, drones, and space satellites. Their technology aims to push the efficiency limits of perovskite solar cells while maintaining scalability and manufacturability. By optimizing the composition and structure of perovskite materials, Swift Solar aims to achieve high performance and stability in their solar cells.
    • Uniqueness of the Startup: Swift Solar stands out for its commitment to advancing the performance and reliability of perovskite solar cells for niche applications, such as aerospace and consumer electronics. Their technology has the potential to unlock new markets for solar energy by providing lightweight and flexible solar solutions for specialized applications.
    • End-User Segments Addressing: Swift Solar serves manufacturers of portable electronics, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), and space systems seeking lightweight and efficient solar power solutions. Their perovskite-based solar cells offer advantages in terms of weight, flexibility, and energy conversion efficiency, making them ideal for applications where traditional silicon solar cells are impractical or insufficient.

Sample Research At Top-Tier Universities

  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT):
    • Research Focus: MIT is a frontrunner in research on Perovskite Solar Cells, focusing on the development of efficient, stable, and scalable perovskite-based photovoltaic devices through advanced materials synthesis, device engineering, and characterization techniques.
    • Uniqueness: Their research involves exploring novel perovskite compositions, heterojunction architectures, and interface engineering strategies to enhance the performance and reliability of perovskite solar cells while reducing manufacturing costs and environmental impacts.
    • End-use Applications: Their work has applications in residential solar panels, urban infrastructure, and portable electronics. For example, they’re researching lead-free and environmentally friendly perovskite formulations, such as tin-based and bismuth-based compositions, that exhibit high power conversion efficiencies and long-term stability under outdoor conditions, developing tandem solar cell configurations that combine perovskite absorbers with silicon or CIGS (copper indium gallium selenide) cells to achieve record-breaking efficiencies and broaden the absorption spectrum, and investigating scalable deposition methods, such as vapor deposition, inkjet printing, and slot-die coating, for large-area and high-throughput fabrication of perovskite thin films and devices.
  • University of Oxford:
    • Research Focus: University of Oxford conducts cutting-edge research on Perovskite Solar Cells, exploring fundamental aspects of perovskite materials, defects, and interfaces to improve device performance, stability, and manufacturability for commercial deployment.
    • Uniqueness: Their research involves synthesizing novel perovskite compositions, nanostructured morphologies, and defect passivation strategies that enhance the optoelectronic properties and defect tolerance of perovskite absorbers while mitigating degradation mechanisms and hysteresis effects.
    • End-use Applications: Their work finds applications in building-integrated photovoltaics (BIPV), smart windows, and flexible electronics. For instance, they’re researching halide engineering and cation substitution techniques to tailor the bandgap, carrier mobility, and defect tolerance of perovskite materials for specific photovoltaic and optoelectronic applications, developing stable and low-cost encapsulation methods and barrier coatings that protect perovskite devices from moisture ingress, oxygen diffusion, and UV degradation, and investigating flexible and transparent substrates, such as polymers, glasses, and metal foils, for lightweight and conformal perovskite solar modules with bendable and stretchable form factors.
  • National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL):
    • Research Focus: NREL is a leader in research on Perovskite Solar Cells, leveraging its expertise in materials science, device physics, and photovoltaic testing to advance the performance, reliability, and scalability of perovskite-based photovoltaics for utility-scale deployment.
    • Uniqueness: Their research involves characterizing the optoelectronic properties, stability, and degradation mechanisms of perovskite materials and devices through state-of-the-art spectroscopic, microscopic, and electrochemical techniques to identify performance-limiting factors and design strategies for improved device architectures and fabrication processes.
    • End-use Applications: Their work has applications in community solar projects, rural electrification, and off-grid microgrids. For example, they’re researching halide segregation and compositional engineering approaches that enhance the phase purity, grain size, and crystallinity of perovskite films and reduce the density of trap states and recombination centers at grain boundaries and interfaces, developing perovskite-silicon tandem cells with optimized band alignments and charge transport properties for high-efficiency and high-voltage photovoltaic modules, and investigating perovskite-based tandem cells with non-toxic and earth-abundant materials, such as metal oxides, quantum dots, and organic semiconductors, for sustainable and scalable solar energy conversion.

commercial_img Commercial Implementation

Perovskite Solar Cells revolutionize utility-scale solar PV with their high efficiency and low production costs. Commercially, manufacturers mass-produce perovskite-based photovoltaic panels, leveraging their lightweight and flexible nature for easy deployment.