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KAUST researchers chart path to global adoption of perovskite-silicon tandem solar cells in Saudi Arabia

Professor Stefaan De Wolf and the KAUST Photovoltaics Laboratory have laid out a comprehensive roadmap in Science, signalling a significant step toward making perovskite/silicon tandem solar cells a staple in the global clean energy landscape. The focus of their research is to enhance solar efficiency, aligning with Saudi Arabia’s ambitious solar targets.

The perovskite/silicon tandem technology, leveraging the strengths of both materials, has already showcased its prowess by achieving record-breaking efficiency. In 2023, the De Wolf laboratory secured two world records for power conversion efficiency, contributing to the rapid progress in this innovative technology.

Translating laboratory success into practical applications requires strategic considerations, and the paper delves into key challenges, offering viable solutions for commercialization. Notable among these challenges are real-world conditions such as variable temperatures and sunlight. The authors propose geographical testing, akin to personalized medicine for solar cells, to optimize performance based on specific locations.

Accelerated stability testing is identified as crucial, ensuring that deployed solar cells have a lifespan spanning decades. This involves compressing years of wear and tear into a shorter timeframe to understand degradation rates, which is essential for setting competitive prices and warranties.

The research also addresses the high material costs and potential hazards associated with current manufacturing processes. The paper suggests paradigms for both monolithic and mechanically stacked tandem production lines, aiming to identify opportunities for cost reduction.

Professor Stefaan De Wolf envisions the perovskite/silicon tandem market to exceed $10 billion within a decade, emphasizing KAUST’s pioneering role in laying the groundwork for affordable and accessible clean energy. Erkan Aydin, a co-author of the study, is set to establish his lab in Europe in 2024.

This breakthrough research aligns with KAUST’s commitment to developing green technologies, contributing to carbon-free policies, and securing a sustainable future.


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