The Swiss Times - Swiss News in English

Swiss researchers make solar cells more efficient and durable

  • By The Swiss Times
  • 26 October 2023

Swiss researchers have developed perovskite solar cells with record stability and over 25 percent efficiency. They presented the new design in the journal Nature. In a statement Tuesday, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL) called it a major breakthrough.

Swiss researchers make solar cells more efficient and durable
Photo by Andres Siimon on Unsplash

Traditional silicon solar cells, found on most rooftops, typically have efficiencies in the 15 to 20 percent range. Perovskite solar cells are considered promising by experts because they achieve higher efficiencies than traditional solar cells and are cheaper to produce. However, they have a durability problem: They degrade too quickly for regular everyday use.

To solve this problem, scientists at EPFL and Northwestern University in the U.S. have introduced so-called inverted perovskite solar cells with a layer of molecules that smooth out the cells’ irregular surface, EPFL explained. With this addition, the molecules distribute more evenly on the surface of the solar cell, according to the paper, which avoids problematic clumps.

“Unprecedented design”

The new design allowed the solar cells to absorb more sunlight while minimizing energy losses at the interface between layers. In the lab, the cells had an efficiency of 25.3 percent, according to the study.

Also impressive was the stability, EPFL said. After more than 1,000 hours at temperatures of 65 degrees Celsius and a relative humidity of 50 percent, the cells maintained 95 percent of their maximum output, they said. This level of stability combined with such high efficiency is unprecedented in the field of perovskite solar cells, the university stressed.

According to the researchers, this also paves the way for the commercialization of perovskite solar cells. In addition, the new method could also be used in other optoelectronic devices such as LEDs.

©Keystone/SDA

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