A team coordinated by the Centre Suisse d’Electronique et de Microtechnique (CSEM) will work on a €5 million, three-year project to produce solar cells based on perovskite at a size of at least 15x15 cm, while maintaining a conversion efficiency of at least 14%.

In addition to this up-scaling, the research team will develop high-performance cells. Such tandem cells can harvest a broader spectrum of light than a single cell, which should lead to an increase in their efficiency further, approaching the 30% range. The team states that, in the longer term, existing manufacturing methods used to make silicon cells may require only minor modification before being used to produce tandem cells, as the perovskite layer would simply be added on top of the conventional cell to act as an “efficiency booster”.

According to another project partner, Zurich-based Accelopment, although lab scale energy conversion by perovskite devices has rapidly advanced to efficiencies beyond 20%, few attempts at scaling the technology have been made. Moreover, when those attempts have been made, perovskite cell efficiencies have dropped significantly, to below 9%. In addition, questions about material stability and reliable measurement procedures are still under discussion.

The production processes in this project will be designed for large volume production at very low cost, which will demonstrate the potential of perovskite cells as a technology well-suited for building-integrated photovoltaics. At the same time, the research team will work on smaller high-performance cells, targeting an ambitious efficiency of more than 29% for a 2x2 cm cell using a tandem configuration with a crystalline silicon heterojunction cell. In addition, the CHEOPS consortium (the father project of this project) will also establish a quantified future development roadmap, plus protocols for stability testing and for reliable measurements.

Among the nine other CHEOPS partners are UK-based start-up Oxford Photovoltaics, German chemicals giant Merck, and the Tyndall National Institute in Ireland.