New material may double solar cell efficiency

Scientists identify a new crystalline material that could replace silicon and double the efficiency of solar cells without a significant cost increase.

In a breakthrough, scientists have identified a new crystalline material that could replace silicon and double the efficiency of solar cells without a significant cost increase. Conventional solar cells are at most one-third efficient, a limit known to scientists as the Shockley-Queisser Limit.

The new material, a crystalline structure that contains both inorganic materials (iodine and lead) and an organic material (methyl-ammonium), boosts the efficiency so that it can carry two-thirds of the energy from light without losing as much energy to heat.

This material identified by researchers at Purdue University and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in the US could double the amount of electricity produced without a significant cost increase. Enough solar energy reaches the Earth to supply all of the planet’s energy needs multiple times over, but capturing that energy has been difficult – as of 2013, only about one per cent of the world’s grid electricity was produced from solar panels.
— http://indianexpress.com/article/technology/science/new-material-may-double-solar-cell-efficiency-4606320/