Across the world, a number of companies are working to commercialize solar energy that could increase the adoption of renewable energy generation.
Oxford PV, a start-up received $3 million government funding to develop a technology which uses a new kind of material to make solar cells.
Called perovskite cell- it is a “new photovoltaic tech (which) uses hybrid organic-inorganic lead or tin halide-based material as the light-harvesting active layer. It’s the first new technology to come along in years to offer the promise of better efficiency in the conversion of light to electric power at a lower cost than existing technologies”.
Sam Stranks, the lead scientific advisor and co-founder of Swift Solar (the US company that raised $7 million to bring the technology to market) commented
“Perovskite has let us truly rethink what we can do with the silicon-based solar panels we see on roofs today…. Another aspect that really excites me: how cheaply these can be made. These thin crystalline films are made by mixing two inexpensive readily abundant salts to make an ink that can be deposited in many different ways… This means that perovskite solar panels could cost less than half of their silicon counterparts.”
Oxford PV is now working on developing solar cells that could achieve conversion efficiencies of 37 percent — much higher than existing polycrystalline photovoltaic or thin-film solar cells.
There is always a risk with new technology but promises of radical improvements in efficiencies at costs are low enough to attract buyers- this has investors once again put money behind alternative solar chemistries.