The US Air Force awards University of Toledo $12.5 million to develop space-based solar energy sheets

The U.S. Air Force recently awarded the University of Toledo (UToledo) $12.5 million to develop photovoltaic energy sheets that would live in space and harvest solar energy to transmit power wirelessly to Earth-based receivers or to other orbital or aerial instrumentation, such as communications satellites.

UToledo physicists will develop flexible solar cell sheets, each roughly the size of a piece of paper, that can be assembled and interconnected into much larger structures. The team will focus on tandem architectures and work with a variety of combinations of solar cells, perovskites included.

Flexible semi-transparent tandem perovskite/CIGS solar cell with 26.5% efficiency reported by Solliance and MiaSolé

Solliance and U.S-based MiaSolé announced a new record - power conversion efficiency of 26.5% on a tandem solar cell that combined a top rigid semi-transparent perovskite solar cell with a bottom flexible copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS) cell.

Solliance and Miasole's 23%efficiency tandem perovskite/CIGS cells image

This impressive efficiency was achieved by optimizing the bandgap and the efficiency of both the rigid semi-transparent perovskite top cell and the flexible CIGS bottom cell. The CIGS was roll to roll produced on steel foil, with a power conversion efficiency of 20.0%.

CITYSOLAR project to develop perovskite/OPV hybrids for photovoltaic windows

A new EU project called "CITYSOLAR" aims to revolutionize the market for transparent solar cells for windows by combining two photovoltaic (PV) technologies in a tandem configuration. The project has received 3,779,242 EUR in support from the H2020 framework programme. Transparent solar cells for windows have been known for several years, but are still not sufficiently efficient - which is what the new project will attempt to change.

“We develop new innovative concepts within light management and solar module integration that are specifically targeted at new promising organic and hybrid thin film PV technologies, and by that we go significantly beyond state-of-the-art in terms of efficiency for transparent photovoltaics. It’s a revolutionary new concept,” says Professor Aldo di Carlo, Cnr-Ism, who is coordinator of the new project and is thrilled about the support of "CITYSOLAR" from the H2020 framework.

Two-sided perovskite/silicon tandem solar cells can collect scattered light to gather more energy

An international team of scientists, including ones from King Abdullah University of Science & Technology (KAUST) and University of Toronto, set out to increase the performance of solar panels by creating a bifacial (two-sided) tandem solar cell, made of perovskite and silicon materials.

Two-sided solar cells can collect scattered light to gather more energy imageImage credit: U of T

In outdoor environments, light primarily comes directly from the sun. Conventional tandem solar cells can already convert this light into electricity more efficiently compared to traditional silicon-only solar cells by absorbing additional wavelengths of light. Now, the researchers have realized that even more energy can be gathered using a two-sided tandem configuration. Light reflected and scattered from the ground — referred to as “albedo” — can also be collected to significantly increase the current of a tandem solar cell. The new research outlines how the team engineered the perovskite/silicon device to exceed the currently accepted performance limits for the tandem configuration.

Oxford PV hits new perovskite-silicon tandem world record

Oxford PV has reached a new efficiency world record for perovskite-silicon tandem cells at 29.52%, passing the previous record set less than a year ago by Helmholtz Zentrum Berlin. The new record has been certified by the U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

Oxford PV's new tandem efficiency record image

The new record was achieved on a cell measuring 1.12cm², produced in a laboratory setting. Oxford PV previously held the tandem cell efficiency record at 27.3%, and then 28%, before a group at Helmholtz Zentrum Berlin (HZB) pushed the record to 29.15% in January 2020. Both Oxford PV and HZB have stated that they have clear roadmaps to push this record beyond 30% in the near future.