These materials aim to revolutionize the solar industry. Why hasn’t it happened yet?

But stability remains a tough challenge.

In one recent research, published in the journal Science in April, researchers have discovered a new way to fabricate perovskite solar cells with additives that improve performance and lifespan. The cells withstand 1,500 hours of high temperature and high humidity in the laboratory.

The point is to translate these results into the real world. It’s hard for researchers to simulate real-world conditions, and silicon has set the bar high, with many manufacturers guaranteeing that their panels will maintain 80% performance for 30 or even 40 days. five.

In recent field test, the researchers found that the perovskite-based cells functioned at more than 90% of their baseline levels after a few months. But losing nearly 10% of a cell’s performance in that amount of time isn’t going to cut it.

Another problem is that these tests are all done using microscopic cells. Scaling up perovskites and making the cells larger that can be strung together into full-size solar panels often leads to efficiency and lifespan failures.

These challenges mean that the day when perovskites take over the solar market is no longer near or inevitable, as several researchers have demonstrated, Green said.

Tweaking perovskites using methods such as adding stabilizers and materials that protect them from the elements could eventually allow these solar cells to last several decades under normal operating conditions, Letian Dou, a perovskite researcher at Purdue University. But he predicts it will take a decade or more before perovskites make meaningful commercial progress.

Despite the challenges, there is a real need for different types of solar cells. That’s especially true right now, when demand for solar materials is exploding, says Jenny Chase, head of solar analytics at Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

And perovskite won’t necessarily compete directly with silicon, because they could be used in parallel cells, where a layer of perovskite is stacked on top of a silicon cell. Because the two materials capture different wavelengths of light, they can complement each other.

That’s not likely to happen unless someone can make perovskite solar cells much more stable. But certainly, the researchers aren’t giving up on their promise. As Green said, “There’s still a chance someone will actually nail it.”

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