Scientists Develop Perovskite-Silicon Tandem Solar Cell with Record 33.2% Efficiency

Scientists at the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) claimed to have created a perovskite-silicon tandem solar cell with a record energy conversion efficiency of 33.2%.

The efficiency achieved at the KAUST Solar Center has been certified by the European Solar Test Installation (ESTI) and listed on the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s (NREL) Best Research-cell Efficiency Chart.

Researchers combined perovskite top cells on industrially compatible, two-sided, textured silicon bottom cells to obtain the tandem solar cell.

They observed that the perovskite top layer absorbed blue light best, while the silicon foundation absorbed red light best.

The KASUT team has been working on how to uniformly cover the micrometer-sized pyramidal surface of silicon cells with perovskite material since 2016.

The scientists found that combining these materials increased the capture and conversion of sunlight into electricity more efficiently than the conventional single-junction silicon counterparts.

Professor of Material Science and Engineering and Interim Associate Director of the KAUST Solar Center Stefaan De Wolf said, “This new record is the highest power conversion efficiency of any two-junction solar cell under non-concentrated light, showing the great potential of perovskite/silicon tandems to deliver ultra-high performance photovoltaic modules, which is critical to quickly achieve renewable energy goals towards fighting climate change.”

The research is a major breakthrough in the field of solar energy at a time when market predictions estimate the tandem perovskite/silicon technologies will make up over $10 billion of the global photovoltaic market share by 2032.

The KAUST team is exploring scalable methods to produce industrial-scale perovskite/silicon tandem cells with areas exceeding 240 square centimeters.

The efficiency achieved by the KASUT team also surpassed the earlier record of 32.5% achieved by researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin for tandem solar cells.

Last month, Italy-based renewable energy company Enel Green Power, researchers at the National Solar Energy Institute, and the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission claimed to have achieved a power conversion efficiency of 26.5% for a 2-terminal tandem perovskite solar cell.