Perovskite stacked solar cell beats silicon efficiency for the first time

Perovskite stacked solar cell beats silicon efficiency for the first time

Technology News |
By Nick Flaherty

imec is the first to achieve a 4 cm2 module-on-cell stack that outperforms the standalone silicon solar cell.

Perovskite solar cells are cheaper to produce and have a high absorption efficiency in sunlight, and can be engineered to result in various optical and electronic properties but struggle with lifetime. Perovskite solar cells or modules can also be used to boost standard silicon (Si) solar technology when engineered to absorb a spectral range that is complementary to the optical range of silicon cells. By stacking the perovskite solar cells or modules on top of Si solar cells, power conversion efficiencies above 30 percent can potentially be achieved, beating the best single junction Si solar cells.

imec showed a semi-transparent perovskite module last year that was developed in collaboration with the Solliance European solar cell alliance. This used a perovskite cell stacked on top of an interdigitated back-contact (IBC) crystalline silicon solar cell in a four-terminal tandem configuration. This achieved an overall power conversion efficiency of 20.2 percent on an aperture area of 4cm2. That design has been improved to reach the record high power conversion efficiency of 23.9 percent for the module-on-cell stack of this size.

“Two innovations are key to this achievement,” said Tom Aernouts, group leader for thin-film photovoltaics at imec and perovskite PV program manager at Solliance. “First, a different perovskite material (CsFAPbIBr) was used, largely improving the stability and conversion efficiency of the 4cm² semi-transparent perovskite module to 15.3 percent. Second, the architecture of the stack was optimized for minimal optical losses by adding an anti-reflection texture on top of the module and a refractive index matching liquid between the perovskite module and the Si solar cell.”

Next: stacked cells

The perovskite/silicon four-terminal tandem was implemented with matched aperture areas as large as 4cm2 for the perovskite module and the Si solar cell.

“Having matched areas of this size makes the fabrication technology more attractive to the solar cell industry,” said Aernouts. “For reference, we have also fabricated a stack of a small perovskite cell (0.13cm2) on top of an IBC c-Si cell (4cm2). In this configuration, the power conversion efficiency of the small semi-transparent perovskite cell is 16.7 percent, outperforming the larger 4cm2 perovskite module due to better perovskite layer properties. Although less attractive from an industrial point of view, the overall power conversion efficiency of this cell-on-cell stack is as high as 25.3 percent.”

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