Solar cell breakthrough on the cards

Solar cell breakthrough on the cards
Nanyang Technological University (Singapore) researchers who pioneered perosvkite solar cell developments in 2013: Professor Subodh Mhaisalkar (left) and Dr Nripan Mathews (right) holding the perosvkite solar cells, with Professor Sum Tze Chien (centre)

An Australian manufacturing firm has taken the first steps towards commercialising a potentially cheaper and highly efficient solar cell.

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has pledged $449,000 in support, with acting CEO Ian Kay saying the funding would enable New South Wales company Dyesol to create a roadmap setting out the steps needed to take its perovskite solar cell technology from the lab to commercial viability.

“Perovskite cells have been demonstrated at laboratory scale but have never before been mass produced. Dyesol will map out the techniques and requirements for working towards scalable manufacturing of high-quality, uniform perovskite cells that achieve efficiency, durability and stability targets,” Mr Kay said.

“Most current generation solar PV panels on the market today are made with silicon, but there is growing interest in developing third generation solar technologies such as cells constructed from perovskite.”

Perovskite is abundant and cheaper than silicon. What’s more, there is research to suggest it may be more adaptable than conventional silicon, providing enhanced performance in low light conditions and being better suited for integration into external building components such as windows and facades.

“Ultimately, we hope to see perovskite solar cells deliver a significant breakthrough in cost reduction in the manufacture of solar PV technology, in line with ARENA’s goal of reducing the cost of renewable energy and advancing innovative technologies,” Mr Kay said.

Dyesol chief technical officer Dr Damion Milliken said ARENA’s support would help the company develop international market leadership by bedding down critical manufacturing input materials and techniques necessary for commercialisation of a perovskite solar cell product.