Current solar cells capture only about 20 percent of the sun's energy, but a new material could more than double that, CNN reports
The vast majority of photovoltaics are made from crystalline silicon, which is expensive to produce and install. But the mineral perovskite, first became a hot topic as a possible solar collector in 2009, is capable of outdoing that.
"In a very short time, perovskite has begun to produce extremely high efficiencies and there's 'perovskite fever' going on," Michael Graetzel, Director of the Laboratory of Photonics and Interfaces at the Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne told CNN. "Today, efficiency has peaked at 18 percent, but it's expected to get even higher in the future."
Graetzel says perovskite can even be placed on top of traditional photo cells to make them even more efficient.
"This is not an expensive process and can become an attractive application for mainstream solar panels," he said.
Researchers Henry Snaith of Oxford University and Andrew Rappe of the University of Pennsylvania first engineered solid perovskite solar cells that had higher efficiency than the old liquid ones. Perovskite solar cells were named one of the major breakthroughs of 2013 by Science magazine.
An efficiency of 50 percent is possible The Guardian reported
earlier this year and the price may drop to below that of silicon used in traditional cells.
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