Making perovskite solar cells a market reality
Imec has been named the coordinator of an ambitious 3-year EU funded project, “ESPResSo” (Efficient Structures and Processes for Reliable Perovskite Solar Modules), that gathers known leaders in the field of perovskite PV technology to revolutionise Europe’s photovoltaics (PV) industry.
The ESPResSo consortium has been granted over 5M euro by the European Union to overcome the limitations of today’s state-of-the-art perovskite PV technology, bring perovskite solar cells to the next maturity level, and demonstrate their practical application.
The members of the consortium include the fundamental research organisations Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL), Switzerland and Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (CNR), Italy; perovskite solar cell scale-up and industrialisation members imec, Belgium, Universita degli Studi di Roma Tor Vergata (UNITOV-CHOSE), Italy and Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE, Germany; and experts in sustainability and renewable energies CSGI (Consorzio Interuniversitario per lo Sviluppo dei Sistemi a Grande Interfase), Italy and University of Cyprus, Cyprus.
Members representing materials development include Dycotec Materials LTD, United Kingdom, Dyenamo AB, Sweden and Corning SAS, France; equipment manufacturer, M-Solv LTD, United Kingdom; along with perovskite solar cell technology developers Saule Technologies, Poland, and building-integrated photovoltaics developer, Onyx Solar Energy SL, Spain.
With its low-cost materials and low temperature deposition processes, perovskite-based PV technology has the potential to takes its place in the thin-film PV market.
Perovskite solar cells have already demonstrated high efficiencies (above 22%) that rival those of established mainstream thin-film PV technologies like copper-indium-gallium-selenide (CIGS) and cadmium-telluride (CdTe).
The challenge is now to transfer the unprecedented progress that the perovskite PV cell technology has made in recent years from its cell level into a scalable, stable, low-cost technology on module level.
“Every aspect of our lives – from our homes to our workplaces, hospitals, schools and farms - depends on the nonstop availability of energy,” stated Tom Aernouts, imec group leader of thin-film photovoltaics.
“Perovskite cells demonstrate clear potential to support world’s energy demands cost-effectively. The ultimate aim of the partners of the ESPResSo project is to achieve this by bringing perovskite photovoltaics from the lab to the fab.”
The ESPResSo team targets alternative cost effective materials, novel cell concepts and architectures, and advanced processing know-how and equipment to overcome the current limitations of this technology.
The consortium aims to bring the cell performance close to its theoretical limit by demonstrating cell efficiency of more than 24% (on 1cm²) and less than 10% degradation in cell efficiency following thermal stress at 85°C, 85% RH for over 1000h.
Scale up activities utilising solution processed slot-die coating and laser processing will additionally deliver modules with more than 17% efficiency showing long-term (>20 years) reliable performance as deduced from IEC-compliant test conditions.
The ESPResSo team also envisions integrating modules in façade elements demonstrating a levelised cost of electricity (LCoE) of ≤ 0.05€/kWh.
Prototyping advanced, arbitrary-shaped architectures with specific materials and process combinations will emphasise that new highly innovative applications like on flexible substrates or with high semi-transparency are well accessible in the mid- to longer-term with this very promising thin-film PV technology.