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Efficient next-generation solar panels on the horizon following breakthrough

A scientific breakthrough brings mass production of the next generation of cheaper and lighter perovskite solar cells one step closer thanks to researchers at the University of Surrey’s Advanced Technology Institute (ATI).

A nanoscale ‘ink’ coating of aluminium oxide on metal halide perovskite improves the potential of this emerging photovoltaic technology and stabilises the drop in energy output which currently plagues perovskite technology.

Hashini Perera, lead author of the study at the University of Surrey, said:

“In the past, metal oxides have been shown to either benefit or degrade the performance of perovskite solar cells. We’ve identified aluminium oxide, which can improve performance and minimises the drop in efficiency during conditioning of perovskite solar cells. We show that this nano-oxide allows a uniform coating of perovskite material on highly promising organic molecules that self-assemble on a surface and improve device output.”

Dr Imalka Jayawardena, from the University of Surrey’s Advanced Technology Institute, said:

“Performance limits of traditional solar cells are why researchers are switching to examining perovskite as the next-generation solar technology, especially as applications both terrestrial and in space are rapidly growing. Our key development in solar panel technology shows a cost-effective approach to scaling of perovskite solar cells, a development which could help countries around the world to reach their net zero targets faster.”

Professor Ravi Silva, corresponding author from the ATI, University of Surrey, said:

“Solar and wind energy costs are rapidly decreasing based on technology improvements, to the level where worldwide over 80% of all new additional power generation capacity is based on renewables. The levelised cost of solar electricity is now cheaper than most other power-generating sources. With the maturing of perovskite solar modules, the levelised cost of electricity will significantly decrease further, and that is why this is such an exciting area to work.”

The research was published in the journal RRL Solar.

The University of Surrey is a leading research institution that focuses on sustainability to deliver impacts that benefit society and help deal with the many challenges of climate change. Surrey is also committed to improving its own resource efficiency on its campuses in Guildford and aspires to be a sector leader. It has set a commitment to be carbon neutral by 2030. In April, it was ranked 55th in the world by the Times Higher Education (THE) University Impact Rankings, which assesses more than 1,400 universities’ performance against the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).”

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