Researchers at The Australian National University (ANU) have announced an impressive achievement - a silicon/perovskite tandem solar cell with a conversion efficiency of 27.7%.
Professor Kylie Catchpole says this would only need to improve slightly - to around 30% - before the technology could be rolled out around the world. "In comparison, typical solar panels being installed on rooftops at the moment have an efficiency around 20%" Professor Catchpole said.
"Silicon solar cells currently dominate the market, however the efficiency of silicon solar cells is going to reach the limit in the next five to 10 years... This result demonstrates the potential of tandem solar cells. They can make better use of certain parts of the solar spectrum - for example high energy blue photons".
Professor Catchpole says higher efficiency means each section of a solar panel is producing more power. "The coverage area of solar panels is the main contributor of the cost. So if successfully commercialized this technology could lead to a significant reduction in the cost of solar electricity, as well as lower energy bills."
The team is now working on achieving an even higher efficiency, as well on further improving the stability of the new solar cells.
"The International Technology Roadmap for Photovoltaics predicts tandem solar cells will appear in mass production in 2023, so we're very close," lead researcher Dr The Duong said.
"This new efficiency result will help to improve the commercial competitiveness of this technology... It's exciting to think that a new technology that has the potential to benefit the entire planet is being developed here in Canberra."
The work has been financially supported by ARENA through the Australian Centre for Advanced Photovoltaics.