New Generation of Solar PV Cells being Developed in Australia

Jon Capistrano
Jon Capistrano
December 14, 2016

A collaboration between the Australian National University (ANU), the CSIRO and technology company Dyesol has come up with a new type of solar photovoltaic cells that do not require silicon metals and rare earth materials reports ABC.

Dyesol stated that the new panels have the potential to be a global technology disrupter. Perovskite is the key to this new technology, a material first discovered in the Ural Mountains in Russia in the mid-19th century.

Managing Director Richard Caldwell said perovskite was a general name for a whole class of compounds that had a chemical lattice structure. Which made it particularly good at capturing energy and converting that energy into a flow of electrons.

Mr Caldwell said this 3rd generation solar PV was not only for panels, but could literally be embedded in building materials. It can be built into windows, roofing materials and facades.

There have been other perovskite-based solar photovoltaic cells in the last decade, but these latest ones have a greater ability to convert sunlight into electricity. And doing it without silicone materials is far more environmentally friendly on its own. Caldwell said that the temperature should be raised to 1,122 C to refine the material to get it to a level, this means there’s a lot of embedded energy in existing technologies. This goes against the grain because the whole idea is to produce clean, cheap and green technology that leaves a minimal carbon footprint.

Silicon-based solar photovoltaics will have a payback period of around 2 ½ years, while the payback period for perovskites is about 3-6 months.

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Featured Image Credit: Oregon Department of Transportation

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