Carbon Electrodes Overcome Key Barriers to Perovskite Solar Commercialization
- Carbon electrode perovskite solar cells allow simpler manufacturing but had lower efficiency until recently.
- In 2023, carbon electrode cells from multiple teams exceeded 20% efficiency, a key milestone.
- Carbon electrodes enable printing the cell layers, easing production scaling and costs.
- Efficiency and stability gains are overcoming previous commercialization barriers.
- Carbon electrodes are now seen as a promising path to affordable, stable perovskite solar modules.
Carbon electrode perovskite solar cells are getting closer to being commercially viable. Perovskite solar cells made with carbon electrode back contacts instead of metal ones allow for simpler, lower temperature manufacturing processes with fewer steps. This helps ensure stability. However, in the past carbon electrode cells had much lower power conversion efficiency than metal electrode cells, limiting their adoption.
Recently, carbon electrode perovskite solar cells have achieved over 20% efficiency in lab tests by several research teams. This 20% efficiency milestone is seen as critical for commercial viability. In February 2023, Carbon electrode perovskite solar cells hit record 21.2% efficiency for small devices and 19.6% for mini-modules, retaining 90% performance after 4,390 hours of rigorous stability testing, as reported in Nature Energy. In June, the US National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) developed an inexpensive vacuum-free bilayer graphite and Bi-In alloy electrode, enabling 21.0% efficient perovskite solar cells, as reported in ACS Energy Letters.Chinese researchers hit 20.8% efficiency. Another team made an indoor carbon electrode cell with over 30% efficiency.
Experts see carbon electrodes as a promising path to low-cost, stable perovskite solar modules. Many companies and research teams are exploring the technology, including Solaronix, Saule Technologies, Rayleigh Solar Tech, and Greatcell Solar Italia. The ability to print most or all of the cell layers allows easier manufacturing scaling and lower capital costs. With efficiency and stability now improving, commercialization barriers are being overcome.
The research team published an efficiency of 21.2% in Nature Energy