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  • Ahmed Saleh

KAUST scientists unveil roadmap for perovskite/silicon solar cells for clean energy

Jeddah, January 18, 2024, Researchers at the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) have revealed a comprehensive roadmap for the commercialization of perovskite/silicon tandem solar cells. This breakthrough holds the promise of ushering in an era of abundant and affordable clean energy in Saudi Arabia and across the globe. The collaborative efforts led by Professor Stefaan De Wolf and the KAUST Solar Center aim to enhance the efficiency of solar energy, aligning with the Kingdom's ambitious plans for solar power.

The perovskite/silicon tandem technology, which capitalizes on the efficient light absorption of perovskite and the long-term stability of silicon, has demonstrated remarkable efficiency milestones. In 2023, the De Wolf laboratory achieved two world records for power conversion efficiency, contributing to the global tally of five such records within the same year—a testament to the rapid advancements in perovskite/silicon tandem technology, as outlined in the KAUST statement.

However, transitioning from laboratory success to practical application necessitates a meticulous approach. The statement identifies key challenges and proposes viable solutions for the commercialization of this technology. Notably, the consideration of real-world conditions, such as variable temperature and sunlight, is highlighted. The authors advocate for geographical testing, akin to personalized medicine for solar cells, to optimize performance based on specific locations.

Another critical consideration is accelerated stability testing, recognizing the imperative need for solar cells to have a lifespan lasting decades. Tests simulating years of wear and tear in a condensed timeframe become essential for understanding degradation rates, crucial for establishing competitive pricing and warranties.

KAUST acknowledges that current manufacturing processes involve high material costs and potentially hazardous chemicals, necessitating costly safety precautions. The statement recommends paradigms for both monolithic and mechanically stacked tandem production lines to identify opportunities for cost reduction.

Professor De Wolf anticipates that the perovskite/silicon tandem market will surpass $10 billion within a decade, emphasizing KAUST's leading role in this revolutionary journey. The university is laying the groundwork for affordable and accessible clean energy, aligning with global initiatives for a sustainable and carbon-free future.

This groundbreaking research on perovskite/silicon tandem photovoltaics at KAUST reflects the institution's commitment to developing green technologies that support carbon-free policies and contribute to a sustainable future, according to the statement.

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