New research sheds light on results achieved by major perovskite solar manufacturers


From pv magazine Global

A team of researchers from Nanjing University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill published a review of single-junction perovskite PV commercialization progress. They assessed the feasibility of commercialization based on the three pillars of efficiency, stability, and cost. Assessments of carbon footprints and potential for recycling were also carried out.

The research group sees the stability issue as the most pressing one. “It is closely followed by the need to improve large area film processing,” lead author Pengchen Zhu told pv magazine.

The team began with establishing device area size criteria for terms like “cell” or “module.” Size matters when it comes to discussions of commercialization readiness. Research cells or lab-sized cells are the smallest, named “small cells”. They measure less than 1 cm2. Next in size are “cells” measuring from 1 cm2 to 10 cm2.  A “large module” is considered to be over 14000 cm2. In between are minimodules, submodules, small modules, and standard modules.

Then the academics identified potential applications and the critical commercialization challenges. Furthermore, they reviewed the work being done to overcome the challenges, including strategies to fabricate high-quality films over a large area, and further improve power conversion efficiency and stability.

The group also discussed at length encapsulation methods and materials, scalable deposition methods, and strategies to improve film quality and cost evolution. “Some of the most surprising findings of the review are in the cost analysis and life cycle assessments,” said Zhu. The team evaluated cost reduction scenarios, including comparisons and projections on the levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) for perovskite-silicon tandem modules.

“We talk about the environmental impact, including toxicity issues, and resource demand in this section, proposing some recycling strategies to reduce this negative impact,” said Zhu, referring to calculations of energy payback, carbon footprints, and comparisons with conventional PV modules.

The study also includes summaries of the commercialization status of several manufacturers, such as Europe-based Saule Technologies and Solaronix, Japan’s Panasonic and Toshiba, along with China-based perovskite manufacturing companies Utmolight, Wonder Solar, Kunshan GCL, and Microquanta.

When asked about how the PV industry could accelerate the commercialization of the perovskite technology, Zhu suggested that closer cooperation between academia and industry in key areas could make a difference. For example, by providing the latest modified-polyolefin and butyl rubber products for encapsulation research, while cell manufacturers could provide customized bottom silicon cells.

Manufacturers could share non-confidential processing data with perovskite researchers, which would help with research into fabricating large modules, enabling early input from equipment and materials suppliers.

Looking ahead Zhu expects the perovskite research community to continue to enhance device stability, with a focus on real-life conditions to understand and solve issues related to things like thermal, light, and moisture exposure.

Their review was presented in the paper “Toward the Commercialization of Perovskite Solar Modules,” published in Advanced Materials. The initiative can be seen as complementary to the perovskite-silicon tandem-oriented commercialization review recently published by a team from Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST).

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