New Record For Printed Perovskite Photovoltaic Modules, Six Times Larger

A work that shows that solar cells in perovskite can give a good performance even when produced on a large scale. They set a new efficiency record for a printed perovskite photovoltaic module.

About the size of a sheet of A4 paper, it only takes a printer to produce it, with methods common in the printing industry and which are also simple, cheap. We are talking about the innovative photovoltaic module in perovskite developed by researchers at the University of Swansea, in the United Kingdom.

What’s so special about it? A perovskite solar module with an  area almost six times greater than that of the panels manufactured so far with this technology (10 cm2), a necessary step to be able to commercialize it and be able to compete with the current ones.

Perovskite is probably one of the materials that is currently being studied the most to increase the efficiency and reduce the costs of solar energy. It is cheaper than silicon, the material with which the vast majority of solar panels are made, and its potential efficiency is greater. Scientists are doing research to increase their power-generating capacity, posting new efficiency records almost every month, although silicon has yet to be beaten. But it seems that this is only a matter of time.

Its creators have published an article in Advanced Materials Technologies where they explain the progress made, explaining that the entire manufacturing process is simple and inexpensive.

The Swansea researchers’ secret to success has been the module printing process. To avoid the defects associated with prints of this size, which could lower their efficiency due to possible connection problems between the cells, they have used a technique well known in the printing industry: registration, which ensures that the patterns and the layers that make up the module are perfectly aligned and, therefore, the connection between the different cells is perfect. That is why they have managed to make the modules so large without losing their efficiency due to small printing defects.

The new photovoltaic module in perovskite is composed of C-PSC units (Carbon-Pervoskite based Solar Cells): these cells are formed by serigraphs that print three mesoporous layers in titanium, zirconia and carbon arranged one on top of the other, and the subsequent infiltration of a liquid perovskite precursor through them.

Unlike their “sisters”, C-PSCs have significantly lower efficiencies : if the “classic” technology of photovoltaics in perovskite has already exceeded 23%, for these units equipped with carbon the value, in the best of cases , it is around 10%. On the other hand, they do not degrade as quickly and have already shown that they can maintain their performance under continuous lighting after more than a year of operation.

The Swansea team’s innovation is linked to optimizing the printing process on glass substrates the size of a sheet of A4 paper.

The entire process was carried out under normal environmental conditions, without the need for expensive vacuum systems that are necessary for the production of silicon solar cells.

The Swansea team has achieved good results for their modules: “ The results speak for themselves: the module shows an energy conversion efficiency of up to 6.3% when evaluated in fully simulated sunlight. This value is the highest value ever achieved for a C-PSC device of this size. It also shows an efficiency of 11% at 200 lux, which is roughly the same as the light levels in a normal living room . “

Our work shows that perovskite solar cells can perform well even when produced on a larger scale than has been done so far in the scientific community ,” explains Dr. Francesca De Rossi, project manager. ” This is vital to make it economical and attractive for industrial production […] There is still a lot of work to be done, such as increasing the active area, but we are already working on it .”

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