January 8th, 2019 by Charles W. Thurston on CleanTechnica.com
The world’s first building-integrated field test of a one square meter perovskite solar panel, made by Saule Technologies, has just begun on Sanska’s Spark office in Warsaw, with a projected 5 cent per kilowatt-hour levelized cost of energy, according to Saule.
The pilot test panel is 1.3 by 0.9 meters, containing 52 photovoltaic free-form halide perovskite solar modules made by ink jet printing. Commercial scale production is hoped for by 2021.
The cost of the panel is projected at $58 per square meter, with an expected 10% efficiency, according to a May interview with Agata Kukwa, the spokesperson for Warsaw-based Saule, by San Francisco-Based Clean Tech Group.
Perovskite solar cells can be made flexible, ultra thin, lightweight and semitransparent, and the Saule modules also present aging stability and water resistance that will enable their use by the commercial construction industry. CleanTechnica has followed Perovskitemanufacturing advances closely; see the December 27th story.
Perovskites are a class of materials that share a similar structure, which display a myriad of properties like superconductivity, magnetoresistance, and more, according to Perovskite-Info.com. These easily synthesized materials are considered the future of solar cells, as their distinctive structure makes them perfect for enabling low-cost, efficient photovoltaics. They are also predicted to play a role in next-gen electric vehicle batteries, sensors, lasers and much more, the group says.
Saule is working with the Warsaw-based Ergis Group, a rigid plastics film producer, on the encapsulation of the cells.
“The first pilot production facility is scheduled to be launched at the end of 2019 ,which would allow for the fabrication of large perovskite PV modules on an industrial scale. At the same time, we will be working on process optimization in order to improve the operational parameters of the fabricated panels,” said Konrad Wojciechowski, CSO and Project Manager at Saule, in a December statement.
The company has several research grants worth more than EUR 20 million, including funds from the Polish National Centre for Research and Development. The company also has signed an investment agreement with Hideo Sawada, a Japanese investment company.
Contractor Sanska has exclusive rights to use Saule Technologies’ solar cell solutions through a license-based agreement for installations on building façades and noise barriers across all Skanska markets worldwide.
Saule has conducted research on perovskite applications in solar energy harvesting and optoelectronics with universities in the UK, Israel, Germany, Italy and Spain. The company is a member of a three-year European Union-funded project, ESPResSo, for the Efficient Structures and Processes for Reliable Perovskite Solar Modules, that has gathered leaders in perovskite PV technology to revolutionize Europe’s photovoltaics industry.
The group has a goal of bring the cell performance close to its theoretical limit by demonstrating cell efficiency of more than 24% on a 1 centimeter-square cell, with less than 10% degradation in cell efficiency following thermal stress at 85°C and at 85% Relative Humidity (RH) for over 1,000 hours. The group also is working on scale up activities utilizing solution-processed slot-die coating, and laser processing to attempt to deliver modules with more than 17% efficiency, showing over 20 year reliability performance to meet international standards, according to the Dutch R&D group IMEC.
The ESPResSo Group includes: Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne, Switzerland and Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, Italy; perovskite solar cell scale-up and industrialization members imec, Belgium, Universita degli Studi di Roma Tor Vergata, Italy and Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE, Germany; and experts in sustainability and renewable energies CSGI (Consorzio Interuniversitario per lo Sviluppo dei Sistemi a Grande Interfase), Italy and University of Cyprus, Cyprus. Members representing materials development include Dycotec Materials LTD, United Kingdom, Dyenamo AB, Sweden and Corning SAS, France; equipment manufacturer, M-Solv LTD, United Kingdom; and building-integrated photovoltaics developer, Onyx Solar Energy SL, of Spain.
A perovskite solar cell is a type of solar cell which includes a perovskite structured compound, most commonly a hybrid organic-inorganic lead or tin halide-based material, as the light-harvesting active layer, explains Perovskite-Info. Perovskite materials such as methylammonium lead halides are cheap to produce and relatively simple to manufacture. Perovskites possess intrinsic properties like broad absorption spectrum, fast charge separation, long transport distance of electrons and holes, long carrier separation lifetime, and more, that make them very promising materials for solid-state solar cells, the group says.