Perovskite photovoltaics are a breath of fresh air

Perovskite photovoltaics are a breath of fresh air

Perovskite photovoltaics are a breath of fresh air
Perovskite solar cells are a breath of fresh air into the emerging photovoltaic technology landscape. They have amazed with an incredibly fast efficiency improvement, going from just 2% in 2006 to over 20.1% in 2015.
 
IDTechEx has been analysing emerging photovoltaic technologies such as thin films, OPVs and DSSCs for many years. In parallel, we have compiled granular market data on the greater photovoltaic market dominated by crystalline silicon.
 
We have spent the past year investigating the perovskite technology too. Our technical assessment, market analysis and business landscaping are summarised in our recent report: "The Rise of Perovskite Solar Cell 2015-2025: Technology, Status and Market".
 
We forecast that the market for perovskite PV will reach $214m in 2025. The growth will come in the utility (tandem/hybrid cells) and smart windows/BIPV. The take-off will, however, be slower than many anticipate as the technology is not yet production ready and still grapples with issues such as stability and lead toxicity (alternatives to lead have low efficiency).
A winner arrives out of the blue?
 
The efficiency of perovskites has dramatically increased as shown in the schematic below.
This has also put pervoskites on a par with leading thin film PV technologies such as CdTe, CIGS and amorphous silicon, etc.
 
This efficiency improvement also means that pervoskites have already supressed the likes of OPV, DSSC and a-Si, which have been in the market. Indeed, this has pulled the plug on R&D efforts on OPVs (organic photovoltaics) and DSSCs (dye sensitised solar cells) as the community has switched to perovskites en-masse.
 
Fig 1. Perovskite solar cell development timeline. Source: IDTechEx
 
Perovskite photovoltaics have a wide bandgap. This creates an opportunity in pairing them up with low bandgap photovoltaic technology. This will result in several extra efficiency percentage points, which will matter in a highly competitive market where system costs depend on efficiencies.
 
In parallel to this, perovskite solar cells offer additional value propositions including: flexibility, semi-transparency, tailored form factors, thin-film, light-weight, and processing costs. These features are already set to erode much of the uniqueness of its rival technologies. This may make life even harder for applications already pushed to the niche corners of the markets.
Opportunity to solve technology problems
 
The technology is, however, not yet commercially ready. Even the device architecture is in a state of flux. Indeed, the original perovskite started as a simple variant of DSSCs in which a perovskite was just a dye, but the device structure is evolving out of the mould of DSSC into a new and potential planar architecture system.
 
The lead toxicity raises the market barrier to entry and adoption risk, particularly in Europe. Lead-free versions already exist but lead substation incurs a severe penalty in cell efficiency. The trade-off is currently too steep but research in the pipeline is promising.
 
Lifetime is another issue. This is a particular challenge because the target applications such as utility and BIPV demand long lifetimes.
 
The instability issues are not yet fully understood. If they are extrinsic, they can be managed by isolating the system using high-performance barriers such as glass or flexible versions being developed for other applications as OPVs and OLEDs. If they are intrinsic, new material systems will have to be developed.
What does this report provide?
 
We have been analysing emerging photovoltaic technologies for many years. We have also developed highly granular market data on the great photovoltaic industry split by technology, territory, demand/supply, etc. We have also analysed the technologies and markets for perovskite photovoltaics. Our report provides the following analysis, intelligence and insights:
 
1. Current state-of-the-art and technology roadmap
2. Estimated cost breakdown and future cost projections
3. Application roadmap/timeline and value assessment in each application. The markets considered include:
  • Smart glass
  • BIPV
  • Outdoor furniture
  • Perovskites in tandem solar cells
  • Utility
  • Portable devices
  • Third world/developing countries for off-grid applications
  • Automotive
  • Others
4. Quantities benchmarking of existing and emerging PV technologies
5. Assessment of challenges such as lead toxicity, lifetime/stability, etc.
6. Analysis and comparison of different manufacturing methods
7. Review and assessment of different material options
8. Ten-year market projections split by application
9. Interview-based company profiles of key players