Businesses and individuals who have been holding out until solar power technology gets cheaper and better should get ready to jump in the game. Solar energy is about to become brighter, more efficient and more affordable than ever, thanks to recent developments in solar cell technology.
A group of materials called hybrid lead halide perovskites is commonly used in the manufacturing of solar cells, but scientists believed we had reached the limits of these materials’ power output. New research reveals that these materials have more to offer than initially understood.
A new study published in Science Advances shows that researchers have found a way to continue to tap into new levels of efficiency and potential by recycling photons within a solar cell. When light strikes hybrid lead halide perovskites, the light turns into electrical energy, as with all solar cells, including the popular silicon-constructed cells. But when light hits perovskite and generates electricity, part of that electrical charge reforms itself back into photons, or light. New solar cells using this technology will be able to reuse those photons to create much greater amounts of energy from the same amount of light than can be harvested from the current class of solar cells.
“It’s a massive demonstration of the quality of this material and opens the door to maximizing the efficiency of solar cells,” says Cambridge’s Felix Deschler, one of the authors of the study. “The fabrication methods that would be required to exploit this phenomenon are not complicated, and that should boost the efficiency of this technology significantly beyond what we have been able to achieve until now.”
Even without recycling light, the latest class of solar cells using hybrid lead halide perovskites now offers a 25.5% power conversion efficiency rate. This is the highest rate among all the materials currently used in the solar industry. It’s also a significant jump from the
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