The newly developed perovskite solar cell has a power conversion efficiency (PCE) of 25.6 percent. Impressively, the cell retained over 90 percent of its original efficiency after 1,200 hours of operation at 65 degrees Celsius (149 degrees Fahrenheit).

The research, led by Professor Zhu Zonglong of the City University of Hong Kong in collaboration with Li Zhongan of Huazhong University of Science and Technology, was published in the journal Science on October 20.

“Our study provides theoretical guidelines for the design of efficient and stable PSCs and paves the way for easy access to commercially available PSCs,” the team said in the paper.


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The team’s breakthrough lies in improving a boundary layer between the photoactive layer and the anode of the solar cell.

Previous studies found that using self-assembled monolayers (SAMs) as an interfacial layer generally increases PCE to over 25 percent. However, due to the monomolecular structure, SAM is only 1–2 nm thick and decomposes easily at high temperatures.

“We designed the SAM in a unique three-dimensional structure and anchored it on a stable nickel oxide film to improve both thermal and chemical stability. “This development effectively increases the lifetime performance and energy conversion capabilities of the cell,” Zhu said on Tuesday.

“Although the devices tested in the laboratory are relatively small, the manufacturing methods are simple and highly scalable, indicating suitability for large-scale production. “We estimate that the levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) for our new solar cells could be as high as $5.45 per MWh, significantly lower than the $24 per MWh for silicon-based solar cells,” he said.

China is already a leader in the photovoltaic (PV) industry, exporting more than four billion solar cells in 2022, with a total export value of $46.38 billion, according to customs data. According to the China Photovoltaic Industry Association (CPIA) website, the global market share of China’s PV industry exceeds 80 percent in all aspects from raw materials to production equipment.

Perovskite solar cells under high-temperature aging (left) and perovskite solar cells with novel SAM. Photo: CityU “The global energy landscape is shifting to prioritize solar and wind energy. Solar energy has become the cheapest source of energy worldwide, with costs falling by over 90 percent in the last decade. China’s solar industry is ready to make more efforts to combat climate change and boost economic growth,” CPIA spokesman Liu Yiyang said in August.

Professor Zhu believes that PSCs have wide applications.

“Although research began relatively late, perovskite solar cells have made significant progress in stability and lifespan in recent years, from just a few hours at low temperatures to thousands of hours at high temperatures,” he said.

“PSCs can be used in darker conditions and, through modification, can absorb light of different wavelengths. This superior versatility makes them ideal for use in flexible devices, transparent solar cells, bifacial solar cells and indoor photovoltaics.

“In addition, they are more cost-effective and environmentally friendly than traditional silicon cells, which will help reduce the environmental impact of the photovoltaic industry,” he said.

Chinese scientists are increasing the efficiency of perovskite solar cells

Meanwhile, a researcher at Sealand Securities said a lot of work still needs to be done before the perovskite cells can be used more widely.

“To fully utilize perovskite solar cells, the industry needs to make them more stable and long-lasting, produce large, high-quality modules, and receive government support such as subsidies or tax breaks,” said the researcher, who did not want to be named.

Zhu believes that once the technology matures, perovskite could trigger a new wave of growth in the global photovoltaic market, especially in China.

“At this time, energy costs will continue to fall, the entry of new investors will lead to a significant increase in installed capacity, and China’s photovoltaic products may become more competitive due to higher efficiency and lower costs, potentially increasing the export volume of China’s photovoltaic products,” he said.

Several established Chinese companies, including Renshine Solar, Microquanta and GCL Perovskite, are already taking steps to expand their perovskite solar cell production capabilities.

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