The idea of turning windows into active power generators has just come one step closer to being realized.
A group of researchers from the ARC Centre of Excellence in Exciton Science, led by Professor Jacek Jasieniak from Monash University's Department of Materials Science and Engineering, has created perovskite cells with a conversion efficiency of 15.5 percent that allow more than 20 percent of visible light to pass, according to a press release.
This improves the stability of solar windows while allowing more natural light to enter, which means that the amount of visible light passing through the cells is rapidly reaching new levels, increasing their potential for use in a wide variety of real-world applications.
On the road to transparent solar windows
Researchers previously developed semi-transparent perovskite solar cells that could generate 17 percent of visible light and allow ten percent of visible light to pass through. To put it into perspective, rooftop non-transparent silicon cells have an efficiency of roughly 20 percent.
According to a study published in Advanced Science, the same team has since developed new cell formulations that incorporate caesium and formamidinium as components of the initial perovskite composition.
Don't be fooled by the reduced power conversion rates compared to previous results; the amount of visible light passing through the cells makes up for it.
This work represents a significant step forward towards achieving high efficiency and stable perovskite devices that can be used as solar windows to exploit a previously untapped market opportunity, according to Jasieniak.
When tested under constant illumination and heating, semi-transparent perovskite solar cells based on caesium and formamidinium retained 85 percent of their initial power conversion efficiency, making them suitable candidates for scaled device manufacturing.
Understanding solar energy as a transparent source
Transparent solar cells are capable of capturing and utilizing light energy on windows or any glass surface, regardless of the angle, and it has the potential to alter the game in terms of extending the solar scope.
Researchers have previously developed a number of techniques for transparent solar energy. Most of them, however, operate as transparent solar concentrators, which are designed to capture specific ultraviolet and infrared light wavelengths that are unobservable to the naked eye and convert them into electrical power.
Photovoltaic glass is a glass technology that is designed to provide various levels of transparency. And this isn't just on paper; transparent solar technologies are already everywhere on the planet.
The Copenhagen International School's architecture includes 12,000 stained yet clear solar panels throughout the structure, which generate 200 MWh of electricity per year, equivalent to half of the energy used by the school.