New Efficiencies for Solar Panels, LED Lamps

Feb. 16, 2015

New materials could cut initial costs for solar technology.

While conventional solar panels are typically silicon-based, new research shows that a different kind of light-absorbing material can yield cheaper, more efficient solar capabilities. The researchers from the University of Toronto focused on perovskites, materials that are good at absorbing light but had not been studied in a pure, single-crystal form. By growing large, perfect crystals, the scientists were able to quickly and cheaply create solar materials that approach the level of efficiency in current commercial systems.

The study, published in Science, outlines the upper limit for perovskite solar energy generation potential, with the authors saying that their research could have big implications in the industry due to the method’s low cost of production. The new process could not only mean cheaper solar panels but the perovskite’s more efficient electricity-to-light conversion means that they could also be used to create more efficient LED lamps.

“In their efficiency, perovskites are closely approaching conventional materials that have already been commercialized. They have the potential to offer further progress on reducing the cost of solar electricity in light of their convenient manufacturability from a liquid chemical precursor,” says Valerio Adinolfi, co-first author of the report.

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