Solar Cells Produced Cheaper With 20.2 Percent Efficiency

First Posted: Jan 18, 2016 02:15 PM EST

A team of scientists have created a new solar panel material that can reduce photovoltaic costs and has a 20.2 percent competitive power-conversion efficiency. The new material is not only inexpensive, but it also reaches competitive levels of efficiency, according to a study by EPFL scientists.

Most solar cells use light-harvesting films, made from perovskites, which is a type of material that has a characteristic molecular structure. Perovskite-based solar cells use expensive "hole-transporting" materials, which are responsible for moving the positive charges that are generated when light hits the perovskite film.

The researchers' new hole-transporting material costs a fifth of existing ones, while maintaining the efficiency of the solar cell by over 20 percent.

At present, there are two hole-transporting materials that are used for perovskite-based solar cells. These materials are quite expensive synthesize, which is additional expense of the solar cell. The researchers developed a molecular hole-transporting material, called FDT, which reduces the cost, while maintaining efficiency at competitive levels.

"The best performing perovskite solar cells use hole-transporting materials, which are difficult to make and purify, and are prohibitively expensive. By comparison, FDT is easy to synthesize and purify, and its cost is estimated to be a fifth of that for existing materials - while matching, and even surpassing their performance," Mohammad Nazeeruddin, lead author of the study, said in a news release.

The findings of this study were published in Nature Energy.

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