We are setting the benchmark in Australia for testing and collaboration on breakthrough thin-film solar photovoltaic technologies based on perovskite semi-conductors to reduce production cost, increase solar cell performance and improve energy efficiency.

The Challenge

Setting the standard for perovskite technology

Thin-film perovskite solar cells have emerged as an inexpensive and revolutionary type of photoactive semi-conductor in thin-film solar photovoltaics (PV), with a 22 per cent power conversion efficiency (PCE) rating.

Advances in these solar cell materials offer high efficiency at low cost. However, further R&D is needed to demonstrate emerging perovskite technology as stable, durable and reliable, compared with traditional solar panels based on silicon wafers.

Rapid advancements in solar cell research requires new international standards or guidelines to assess thin-film PV efficiency and adaptability. Opportunities for testing and commercialisation of perovskite solar cells has been lacking in Australia, until now.

Our Response

Pioneering the next generation of solar cells

We are developing the next generation of solar PV cells that cost less to produce and are less labour intensive than traditional silicon solar cells, while helping to accelerate perovskite solar cell production in Australia.

We are exploring new solar PV designs and processes to increase perovskite solar cell performance, including new products and applications such as integrating PV for high density commercial and residential buildings where roof space is limited. We are also researching ways to make perovskite materials compatible with glass products (think windows that generate power).

An integral part of this is developing guidelines for assessing the performance of perovskite solar cells, which will help to deliver new market opportunities.

The Results

The benchmark for measurement and collaboration

Our Photovoltaic Performance Laboratory at our Energy Centre in Newcastle, NSW, is the first and only lab in the Southern Hemisphere to receive international accreditation to measure solar cell performance. It will support the research and development of perovskite solar cells in Australia through testing of perovskite samples locally instead of sending them overseas. This will accelerate new generation solar cell research and reduce costs, while ensuring accurate world-class results.

We are working with local and global partners including members of the Australian Centre for Advanced Photovoltaics and internal research agencies. Our work will validate test results and be a leading example of solar cell research and testing for Australia to increase solar cell performance.

This project has received $892,000 from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA). The three year $2.2 million project is due for completion in November 2018.

ARENA was established by the Australian Government to make renewable energy technologies more affordable and increase the amount of renewable energy used in Australia. ARENA invests in renewable energy projects, supports research and development activities, boosts job creation and industry development, and increases knowledge about renewable energy.

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