Canadian Manufacturing

Perovskite film boosts solar panel efficiency by 20%, firm claims

Oxford PV claims its perovskite technology can be applied to silicon solar cells, boosting cell efficiency by 20 per cent



OXFORD, U.K.—A former Oxford University department claims its film technology traditionally used on glass building facades to generate solar energy can also be used on existing solar cells, boosting efficiency by as much as 20 per cent.

Oxford PV, which was spun off of the prestigious school in 2010, said its perovskite technology can be applied to silicon solar cells, boosting the efficiency of each cell by 20 per cent—”the equivalent,” it said, “of a … three to five per cent increase in absolute conversion efficiency terms.”

Previously, the company’s peroskite technology was geared toward the building integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) market.

“Perovskite has the potential to change the solar industry,” Kevin Arthur, company co-founder and CEO, said in a statement.

“Simply put, the material delivers very high performance at a low cost. Applied as a tandem layer, perovskite can have a significant impact by ‘turbo boosting’ the efficiencies of current mainstream crystalline-silicon products. We’re really just scratching the surface now, given the rich potential of this material for a range of solar applications in the longer term.”

Until now, the company’s BIPV program focused mainly on coating glass with perovskite-based materials, which would allow building facades to generate solar power.

While its BIPV offering is scheduled to be in production with licensees in 2017, Oxford PV said it “sees more immediate revenue opportunities via the implementation of perovskite material solutions to dramatically improve efficiencies of existing solar panels.”

Chris Case, the firm’s chief technology officer, said he expects prototype panels to be available in 2015.

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