A team of Dutch and Belgian researchers from Eindhoven University of Technology, TU Delft, imec, and TNO has broken the 30% barrier for solar panels. The modules have a conversion efficiency of 30.1 percent, which is a first in the solar panel sector, an organizational press release said.
The key is in the design of such a “tandem solar panel.” Instead of using traditional solar cell construction, the researchers merged ‘the new perovskite solar cell technology with standard silicon solar cell technology, stacking the two solar panel technologies on top of each other to collect a broader spectrum of sunlight.
More specifically, the lowest layer, which mainly transforms near-infrared light into energy, has a conversion efficiency of 10.4 percent when employing silicon solar cell technology. The researchers then added a layer of perovskite solar cells on top. This layer effectively transmits near-infrared light (93 percent of that light) but transforms ultraviolet and visible light into energy with a 19.7 percent efficiency.
According to the researchers, nearly 30% of the sunlight that shines on this module is transformed into power, a feat that might significantly aid the energy transition.
For the time being, however, it remains a prototype; it is unknown when the tandem solar cells with perovskite and silicon panels will be offered to people.
It would be a major boon if this became a reality since it would mean that more power could be produced on the same piece of land for less rate per unit, increasing energy supply while reducing costs for end users.