Oxford PV recently announced that its perovskite-on-silicon tandem solar cells, currently being used to conduct a life-cycle environmental impact study, have shown positive first results.

The study, commissioned by CHEOPS – a perovskite research project co-funded by the European research and innovation program Horizon 2020, is being conducted by SmartGreenScans, a CHEOPS member, specializing in Life-Cycle Assessments (LCA) of photovoltaic technologies, to assess the life-cycle environmental impact of the perovskite-on-silicon tandem cells being commercialized by Oxford PV.

The first results from SmartGreenScan’s study shows that the primary impact of Oxford PV’s perovskite-on-silicon tandem cells on the use of resources, global warming potential and energy demand, comes from the standard silicon device not the perovskite device, added to the silicon device in a tandem configuration to increase the efficiency of the silicon cell.

The preliminary results are the first stage of a full “cradle-to-grave” LCA analysis currently being conducted by SmartGreenScans, which will also include the installation, operation, maintenance and end-of-life phases of the photovoltaic module.

Dr. Sylvain Nicolay, CHEOPS project coordinator, commented “Given their low cost and high-power conversion efficiency, perovskite solar cells have gained attention in recent years. However, the use of this perovskite solar cell technology has also raised concerns about their health and environmental impact, notably due to the presence of lead. The first finding from SmartGreenScans positively indicates that the emitted lead from tandem modules has only a small contribution to ecotoxicity [less than 0.3% from the complete PV device]. This can be regarded as a first encouraging result, indicating that the minimal presence of lead in the perovskite film should not be considered as a barrier to the adoption of this technology.”

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