There has been a lot in the news lately about the promise of perovskite solar panel technology and rightfully so. If this type of solar panel technology can be perfected it has a bright future as the answer to low cost, high efficiency solar panels. Before perovskite can be anointed the new king of solar panel technology though, some kinks need to be worked out. Recent reports seem to indicate very positively that these perovskite solar panel problems will not only be successfully worked out but perovskite solar panel mass production may be taking place in the very near future.
A Brief Description of Perovskite
What is perovskite? Perovskites are a related group of natural crystalline type materials that are made up mostly of calcium titanium oxide. They hold so much promise in the making of solar panels because they have excellent light harvesting capability due to their crystalline structure. Even better yet, they can easily and cheaply be created in a lab type environment (known as synthetic perovskite) so the supply of them can be almost limitless.
Perovskite solar panel technology has also been one of the fastest growing solar panel technologies as far as efficiency goes. Researches have improved its solar panel efficiency rating from just over 3% when it was first introduced in 2009 to a high efficiency rating of over 20% in 2017.
Part of a perovskite solar panel’s appeal is that it can be applied over a solar panel frame in a much thinner type film than what manufacturers are currently able to do with silicone derived solar panels. This in theory should lead to greatly reduced solar panel prices.
Why is Perovskite Solar Panel Technology Not Found in the Marketplace Yet?
So what’s the problem that’s holding perovskite solar panel technology back? It has to do with how finicky these perovskite solar panel crystals are when exposed to normal atmospheric conditions. Problems occur with them and they tend to break down when exposed to even simple humidity. That’s a real problem for a rooftop or open field applied solar panel because these solar panel panels are exposed to humid conditions on a regular basis. Perovskite has few flaws but obviously this is a huge one.
As it stands now without significant improvements in the technology perovskite solar panels will only hold up for around 4 months at a time. That is hardly a longevity number that will give silicone based solar panel manufacturers cause to shudder. Perovskite solar panel manufacturing is also kind of an art form at the present time, because if not done just right it changes their crystalline phase slightly and makes them significantly less efficient. There is also some evidence to indicate the bigger the solar panel size the faster solar panels made of perovskite break down.
So these are some very significant challenges for a material that many are staking the future of low cost solar panel manufacturing on.
Don’t Give Up On Perovskite Solar Panel Technology Just Yet
Fortunately, there are many that believe this technology still holds the future for solar panel manufacturing. There are many companies and research teams that are still working hard at finding ways to further stabilize the material once it has coated a solar panel so that these solar panels will last significantly longer. Many of these companies and research firms note progress in this area.
One thing many research teams have noted is that perovskite is extremely stable when it’s applied in a vacuum to solar panels. The trick is getting this advanced perovskite vacuum technology into a solar panel in a cost effective manner. So, many research teams are still focused on making perovskite solar panels more stable under normal working conditions.
Perovskite Solar Panels Have Many Things Going For Them Still
Despite their shortcomings there are many things to like about perovskite. Most importantly is that their crystalline structure makes them great at absorbing sunlight and transporting electrical charges. There are few materials on the planet that can do it as well for the price for which perovskite can be obtained. Many researchers even believe the efficiency of perovskite solar panels may be able to reach over 30% as the technology improves.
So you can expect to hear much more in the near future about progress being made with regards to perovskite solar panel technology. If the stability problem with them can truly be worked out, the sky is the limit as far as the number of uses for this inexpensive solar panel coating.