A recent breakthrough research from LIST (Luxembourg) and EPFL /Switzerland), successfully demonstrates the capacity of solar cells to surpass the crucial threshold of 30% energy efficiency. Crossing the 30% barrier, widely regarded as the theoretical maximum in terms of efficiency for silicon-only solar cells, can take us that much closer to achieving the world’s renewable energy goals.
It is of course a major breakthrough to cross the 30% efficiency barrier.
LIST researcher Santhana Eswara is enthusiastic about the results: “It is of course a major breakthrough to cross the 30% efficiency barrier.” Damien Lenoble, director of the Materials Research and Technology (MRT) department adds, “Such results and advanced characterization approaches will also pave the way for the research and development of other perovskite solar-cells getting rid of toxic material and other solar-based energy systems developed within LIST-MRT.”
Silicon solar cells that are commonly used for solar electricity generation are limited in terms of efficiency — the amount of sunlight that hits a solar cell and gets converted into electricity. The current highest efficiency records for silicon-only solar cells stand around 24.5% for commercial cells and 27% in laboratory settings. These figures are considered close to the theoretical maximum of 29% for such cells. Scientists and researchers worldwide are engaged in efforts to enhance this efficiency and develop innovative materials like CIGS (Copper Indium Gallium Selenide) and perovskites as potential alternatives to silicon. The aforementioned research article has demonstrated, for example, an efficiency of 31.25% by stacking silicon and perovskite cells in tandem structures.