Update on the commercial prospects of perovskite solar cells

National renewable energy laboratory NREL

In our worst Seinfeld impersonation voice we ask, “what’s the deal with perovskite solar cells?” The National Renewable Energy Labratory (NREL) answers us by noting that a strategy for producing stable and commercially available perovskite solar cells (PSCs) has been proposed by Kai Zhu and Keith Emery in collaboration with Nam-Gyu Park (Korea), Michael Grätzel (Switzerland), and Tsutomu Miyasaka (Japan).

Solar cells using a halide perovskite with an organic cation such as methylammonium and/or formamidinium have attracted attention because of their excellent photovoltaic performance. Over a period of just a few years, their power conversion efficiency has rocketed to greater than 22 percent.

What is PSC?

However, PSCs face challenges to commercialization. Specifically, they have the following needs that must be addressed for the eventual success of this promising technology: 1) long-term stability, 2) a manufacturing method that can produce reproducible, hysteresis-free, high-performance devices, and 3) reliable device characterization.

Nam-Gyu Park of Sungkyunkwan University initiated this joint effort to provide solutions to these needs, and the authors proposed a strategy-to move toward stable commercial PSCs-that includes the following:

• Developing a reproducible manufacturing method that takes into account managing grain boundaries and interfacial charge transport
• Using electroluminescence as an effective metric or tool for evaluating PSC quality
• Realizing the importance of the design of device structures with interface engineering to yield performance that is stable and hysteresis-free
• Recovering and utilizing the lead in PSCs to address environmental concerns
• Ensuring the advance of practical applications through reliable device characterization.

The report

Details of the strategy are found in the paper, “Towards Stable and Commercially Available Perovskite Solar Cells,” published in Nature Energy.

NREL is the U.S. Department of Energy’s primary national laboratory for renewable energy and energy efficiency research and development. NREL is operated for the Energy Department by The Alliance for Sustainable Energy, LLC. The work at NREL is supported by the U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative.

 

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