Review

Challenges for commercializing perovskite solar cells

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Science  21 Sep 2018:
Vol. 361, Issue 6408, eaat8235
DOI: 10.1126/science.aat8235

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The road ahead for perovskites

The high power conversion efficiencies of small-area perovskite solar cells (PSCs) have driven interest in the development of commercial devices. Rong et al. review recent progress in addressing stability, how to allow mass production, and how to maintain uniformity of large-area films. They note that lifetimes exceeding 10,000 hours under 1 sun (1 kW/m2) illumination have been reported for printable triple mesoscopic PSCs.

Science, this issue p. eaat8235

Structured Abstract

BACKGROUND

Perovskite solar cells (PSCs) have attracted intensive attention because of their ever-increasing power conversion effi­ciency (PCE), low-cost materials constituents, and simple solution fabrication process. Initi­ated in 2009 with an efficiency of 3.8%, PSCs have now achieved a lab-scale power conversion efficiency of 23.3%, rivaling the performance of commercial multicrystalline silicon solar cells, as well as copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS) and cadmium telluride (CdTe) thin-film solar cells. Thousands of articles re­lated to PSCs have been published each year since 2015, highlighting PSCs as a topic of in­tense interest in photovoltaics (PV) research. With high efficiencies achieved in lab devices, stability and remaining challenges in upscal­ing the manufacture of PSCs are two critical concerns that must be addressed on the path to PSC commercialization.

ADVANCES

We review recent progress in PSCs and discuss the remaining challenges along the pathway to their commercialization. Device configurations of PSCs (see the figure) include mesoscopic formal (n-i-p) and inverted (p-i-n) structures, planar formal and inverted struc­tures, and the printable triple mesoscopic structures. PCEs of devices that use these structures have advanced rapidly in the case of small-area devices (~0.1 cm2). PSCs are also attracting attention as top cells for the construction of tandem solar cells with existing mature PV technologies to increase efficiency beyond the Shockley-Queisser limit of single-junction devices.

The stability of PSCs has attracted much well-deserved attention of late, and notable progress has been made in the past few years. PSCs have recently achieved exhibited life­times of 10,000 hours under 1 sun (1 kW/m2) illumina­tion with an ultraviolet filter at a stabilized temperature of 55°C and at short-circuit conditions for a printable triple mesoscopic PSCs. This irradiation is equivalent to the total irradiation of 10 years of outdoor use in most of Europe. However, within the PSC community, standard testing protocols require further development. In addition, transpar­ency in reporting standards on stability tests needs to be improved; this can be achieved by providing both initial photovoltaic performance and normalization parameters.

The upscaling of PSCs has also progressed steadily, leading to PSC mini-modules, standard-sized modules, and power systems. PV companies have set out to manufacture large-area PSC modules (see the figure), and a 110-m2 perovskite PV system with screen-printed triple mesoscopic PSC modules was recently debuted. Studies of these increased-area modules and systems will promote the development of PSCs toward commercializa­tion. PSC research is expanding to cover fundamental topics on materials and lab-sized cells, as well as to address issues of in­dustrial-scale manufacturing and deployment.

OUTLOOK

The PV market has been continu­ously expanding in recent years, bringing op­portunities for new PV technologies of which PSCs are promising candidates. It is impera­tive to achieve a low cost per watt, which means that both efficiency and lifetime need improve­ment relative to current parameters. The efficiency gap between lab cells and industrial modules has seen impressive reduc­tions in crystalline silicon; PSCs must simi­larly enlarge module areas to the panel level and need to achieve lifetimes comparable to those of legacy PV technologies. Other improvements will need to include industry-scale electronic-grade films, recycling methods to address concerns regarding lead toxicity, and the adoption of standardized testing protocols to predict the operation lifetime of PSCs. Modules will need to endure light-induced degradation, potential-induced degradation, partial-shade stress, and mechanical shock. The field can benefit from lessons learned during the development of mature PV technologies as it strives to de­fine, and overcome, the hurdles to PSC com­mercial impact.

Configurations and application demonstration of PSCs.

PSCs have been developed in various device configurations, including mesoscopic, planar, triple mesoscopic, and tandem structures. Recently, a 110-m2 perovskite PV system with printable triple mesoscopic PSC modules (3600 cm2 for each) was launched by WonderSolar in China.

PHOTO: WONDERSOLAR

Abstract

Perovskite solar cells (PSCs) have witnessed rapidly rising power conversion efficiencies, together with advances in stability and upscaling. Despite these advances, their limited stability and need to prove upscaling remain crucial hurdles on the path to commercialization. We summarize recent advances toward commercially viable PSCs and discuss challenges that remain. We expound the development of standardized protocols to distinguish intrinsic and extrinsic degradation factors in perovskites. We review accelerated aging tests in both cells and modules and discuss the prediction of lifetimes on the basis of degradation kinetics. Mature photovoltaic solutions, which have demonstrated excellent long-term stability in field applications, offer the perovskite community valuable insights into clearing the hurdles to commercialization.

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