My dear reader,
I hope you are doing well and have a wonderful sunny day. I am standing on the quay of Lake Michigan in Chicago, acquiring a bit of sun this foggy day.
Today I have some free time for myself… I am thinking about responsibility for the planet, about humanity who made a big step from the uncontrollable usage of the non-renewable resources turning more and more towards the available wind, water and solar energy. The idea of using solar power is so obvious for me! The sun shines every day and it should not die out in the next billions of years. The fundamental challenge here is an effective conversion of light energy into electricity that is still far from perfect. This was the main reason why I was created.
Let me introduce myself. I am a solar cell born in the PVcomB and Helmholtz Innovation Lab HySPRINT, specifically, in the perovskite lab. As you can see from my photo, I live in a glass cover. But I am not bashful – actually, I like to be uncovered. The sun is my main desire.
I am a many-sided creature; literally, – my upper side is made of perovskite and the lower one of silicon. Thus, our kind, named tandem solar cells, can make effective use of a wide range of the solar spectrum.
Though, we are not easy to manufacture; our interlayers should be electrically and mechanically compatible. Once the researchers achieve this goal, we are the number one hope to further reduce the cost of solar energy so that everyone can easily afford it!
What about the performance of solar cells in terms of power conversion efficiency (PCE)? Well, just four years ago, in 2015, our species could achieve only 13% PCE[i]… Monolithic tandem solar cells made in the perovskite lab at HZB can do twice more! Surprisingly, solar cells can be stubborn – some of their surfaces simply reflect the light. I am safe with that – light trapping solutions developed in my home lab can push up the final efficiency. As a result, we have reached our stable PCE of 25.5%[ii]. But there is still room for improvement – the HySPRINT researchers have advanced our interlayers, top contact layers and matching characteristics and achieved a PCE of 26%[iii]. This is the highest scientifically published PCE for our kind of solar cells.
I am still small, my active area is only 1 cm2 large, but you see that I am efficient. One day my active area finally grows I will join the other adult solar cells in the industry! I am also prudent – I convert the sunlight into power with low parasitic absorption. I am sure that our offspring would do better – computer simulations done by the researchers from the perovskite lab predict PCEs higher than 30%.
Luckily, I have now a great opportunity to try the sunshine from different places around the world. Travelling together with my creators, I found out that they are active on the scientific conferences and know how to relax. Although, I am more a visual type I was amazed by the sound vibrations on the summer music festival!
There will be more places to visit, results to present and innovations to be made. Now we are setting off again!
If you are interested in our further adventures, please check out twitter, @AlbrechtLab and follow our #TandemOnTour #HySPRINT.
For more information about the HySPRINT perovskite lab visit our website.
Greetings from the US,
Your Perovskite/Silicon Tandem Solar Cell