Solar panels are set to become a lot more efficient following a breakthrough by South Korean photovoltaic manufacturer Qcells.
The firm has announced the world’s first production line for perovskite-silicon tandem solar cells, which promise an increase in efficiency of between 50-75% when compared with standard solar panels.
The commercialisation of solar cells that use perovskite follows years of research and development.
The material has been widely hailed as a ‘miracle’ for its potential to benefit various industries – including renewable energy.
Seoul-based Qcells said it will invest $100m (c.£80m) to roll out the next-generation technology.
The investment will fund a pilot production line at a factory in Jincheon, which is projected to be operational by the end of 2024.
Qcells CEO Justin Lee said: “This investment in Jincheon will mark an important step in securing technological leadership.
“With a global R&D network spanning from Korea, Germany, and the US, Qcells will ramp up its efforts to produce high-efficiency advanced tandem cells.”
Tandem solar cells are able to improve the efficiency of standard solar panels by splitting the light spectrum and optimising the harvesting of energy from each section into electricity.
The current record for solar-cell efficiency is 32.5%, meaning around a third of solar radiation is converted into electrical energy.
This was achieved with a perovskite-silicon tandem cell in December last year.
Traditional silicon-based solar cells are currently capable of reaching around 22% efficiency.
Qcells has so far developed a tandem perovskite solar cell with a 29.3% efficiency.
This was achieved earlier this year in collaboration with German research centre Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin.
The results were verified by the US Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
Image: Raw perovskite, which can be used to improve the efficiency of solar panels. Credit: Audio und werbung/Shutterstock
Are you a building professional? Sign up for a FREE MEMBERSHIP to upload news stories, post job vacancies, and connect with colleagues on our secure social feed.