Perovskite cells set to cut PV costs as manufacturing ramps up

September 17th, 2018, Published in Articles: EE Publishers, Articles: Energize

Bolstered by a new manufacturing consortium, Perovskite developer Oxford PV aims to commercialise its high-efficiency cells by early 2020 and predicts costs could soon fall below silicon. The company says a new German consortium will develop high-volume manufacturing processes for its Perovskite technology to improve production efficiency for industrial 156 mm x 156 mm wafer formats. The new consortium comes after Oxford PV announced a 27,3% power conversion efficiency for its Perovskite-silicon tandem solar cell. The efficiency level surpassed the record 26,7% efficiency for a single-junction silicon solar cell, set by Kaneka.

Perovskite material has excellent light absorption and electric charge carrying properties. A relatively lightweight material, Perovskite “holds transformational potential for rapid TW-scale solar deployment,” according to the US National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). Oxford PV expects to increase the efficiency of its tandem Perovskite-silicon cell by 1% per year in the coming years, the company says.

Fig. 1: Research PV cell efficiencies (NREL)

According to a report from New Energy Update, the company hopes to push the technology to 35% or more. Experts from NREL claim that a Perovskite single junction cell should be able to get close to the thermodynamic limit of around 30% efficiency, with tandems reaching about 40%.

Improvements in power conversion efficiency could see the levelised cost of energy (LCOE) for Perovskite-silicon tandem technology fall below silicon panels “within a few years,” the company says, based on current manufacturing costs.

Recent studies have shown perovskite modules with a power conversion efficiency of 16% could achieve a LCOE of under $50/MWh, David Ginger, the chief scientist at the University of Washington’s UW Clean Energy Institute, says. This could imply a LCOE of $26/MWh for a 30% efficiency Perovskite module, assuming the same manufacturing costs.

The company plans to make its Perovskite technology commercially available by the end of 2019 or early 2020.

Acknowledgement

This extract from a report by New Energy Update is published here with permission.

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Contact Robin Sayles, FCBI Energy, RSayles@fc-bi.com