Researchers chart path to cheaper flexible solar cells

Public Release: 7-Feb-2019

Georgia Institute of Technology


A researcher at Georgia Tech holds a perovskite-based solar cell, which is flexible and lighter than silicon-based versions. Credit Rob Felt, Georgia Tech

There’s a lot to like about perovskite-based solar cells. They are simple and cheap to produce, offer flexibility that could unlock a wide new range of installation methods and places, and in recent years have reached energy efficiencies approaching those of traditional silicon-based cells.

But figuring out how to produce perovskite-based energy devices that last longer than a couple of months has been a challenge.

Now researchers from Georgia Institute of Technology, University of California San Diego and Massachusetts Institute of Technology have reported new findings about perovskite solar cells that could lead the way to devices that perform better.

“Perovskite solar cells offer a lot of potential advantages because they are extremely lightweight and can be made with flexible plastic substrates,” said Juan-Pablo Correa-Baena, an assistant professor in the Georgia Tech School of Materials Science and Engineering. “To be able to compete in the marketplace with silicon-based solar cells, however, they need to be more efficient.”

In a study that was published February 8 in the journal Science and was sponsored by the U.S Department Energy and the National Science Foundation, the researchers described in greater detail the mechanisms of how adding alkali metal to the traditional perovskites leads to better performance.

“Perovskites could really change the game in solar,” said David Fenning, a professor of nanoengineering at the University of California San Diego. “They have the potential to reduce costs without giving up performance. But there’s still a lot to learn fundamentally about these materials.”

To understand perovskite crystals, it’s helpful to think of its crystalline structure as a triad. One part of the triad is typically formed from the element lead. The second is typically made up of an organic component such as methylammonium, and the third is often comprised of other halides such as bromine and iodine.

In recent years, researchers have focused on testing different recipes to achieve better efficiencies, such as adding iodine and bromine to the lead component of the structure. Later, they tried substituting cesium and rubidium to the part of the perovskite typically occupied by organic molecules.

“We knew from earlier work that adding cesium and rubidium to a mixed bromine and iodine lead perovskite leads to better stability and higher performance,” Correa-Baena said.

But little was known about why adding those alkali metals improved performance of the perovskites.

To understand exactly why that seemed to work, the researchers used high-intensity X-ray mapping to examine the perovskites at the nanoscale.

“By looking at the composition within the perovskite material, we can see how each individual element plays a role in improving the performance of the device,” said Yanqi (Grace) Luo, a nanoengineering PhD student at UC San Diego.

They discovered that when the cesium and rubidium were added to the mixed bromine and iodine lead perovskite, it caused the bromine and iodine to mix together more homogeneously, resulting in up to 2 percent higher conversion efficiency than the materials without these additives.

“We found that uniformity in the chemistry and structure is what helps a perovskite solar cell operate at its fullest potential,” Fenning said. “Any heterogeneity in that backbone is like a weak link in the chain.”

Even so, the researchers also observed that while adding rubidium or cesium caused the bromine and iodine to become more homogenous, the halide metals themselves within their own cation remained fairly clustered, creating inactive “dead zones” in the solar cell that produce no current.

“This was surprising,” Fenning said. “Having these dead zones would typically kill a solar cell. In other materials, they act like black holes that suck in electrons from other regions and never let them go, so you lose current and voltage.

“But in these perovskites, we saw that the dead zones around rubidium and cesium weren’t too detrimental to solar cell performance, though there was some current loss,” Fenning said. “This shows how robust these materials are but also that there’s even more opportunity for improvement.”

The findings add to the understanding of how the perovskite-based devices work at the nanoscale and could lay the groundwork for future improvements.

“These materials promise to be very cost effective and high performing, which is pretty much what we need to make sure photovoltaic panels are deployed widely,” Correa-Baena said. “We want to try to offset issues of climate change, so the idea is to have photovoltaic cells that are as cheap as possible.”


This research was supported by the U.S. Department of Energy EERE postdoctoral fellowship and grant Nos. DE-SC0001088 and DE-AC02-06CH11357, the California Energy Commission under grant No. EPC-16-050, the Skoltech NGP Program under grant No. 1913/R, the Hellman Fellowship and the National Science Foundation under grant Nos. CBET-1605495, DMR-1507803, GRFP 1122374, CHE-1338173 and ECCS-1542148. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the sponsoring agencies.

CITATION: Juan-Pablo Correa-Baena, et al., “Homogenized halides and alkali cation segregation in alloyed organic-inorganic perovskites,” (Science, February 2019).

From EurekAlert!


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February 12, 2019 2:09 am

The Perovskite solar cells are so good and effective that they will even work at night.

Carl Friis-Hansen
Reply to  Nicholas William Tesdorf
February 12, 2019 4:30 am

Who knows? Maybe one day the cells can convert moonbeams effectively. One should never say never.

Reply to  Carl Friis-Hansen
February 12, 2019 5:34 am

Of course they can convert moonbeams effectively.
The trouble is the total lack of energy in moonbeams to begin with

Reply to  Leo Smith
February 12, 2019 5:41 am

I thought Gov Moonbean had retired already. Lack of energy I guess, as you say.

Reply to  Greg
February 12, 2019 10:20 am


Bryan A
Reply to  Greg
February 12, 2019 2:19 pm

Converting Moonbeams into useful energy is Sheer Lunacy.
It is far easier to convert Moonbeams into Retired Governors

Reply to  Leo Smith
February 12, 2019 8:15 am

That’s why moonbeams have to be supplemented with search lights.

Reply to  MarkW
February 12, 2019 10:31 am

Or night vision goggles. Amplification of available light has served nocturnal predators well for eons. Only they seems to have accomplished it naturally.

Reply to  Carl Friis-Hansen
February 12, 2019 10:41 am

Moonbeams are reflected sunlight. Try taking a picture of the full moon and see what setting you need on the camera.

They should be able to convert moonbeams. The overall production might be just a bit low.

Greg Goodman
Reply to  Nicholas William Tesdorf
February 12, 2019 5:36 am

In all this lengthy blurb about “efficiency” I do not see a SINGLE figure about what kind of conversion efficiency is currently attained. I’d guess that means it is so useless that they do not wish to talk about it.

Obviously not much of a “game changer”.

Reply to  Greg Goodman
February 12, 2019 6:18 am

which you could have found in about 30 seconds by googling.. or is it you didn’t want to know?

Matthew Drobnick
Reply to  griff
February 12, 2019 6:38 am

Are you still using any items or methods of heating, electricity, or transport created from “fossil fuels”?

That includes food, clothing, your shelter, a bicycle, and the list goes on.

So, if you are still using any of these items… You should go fashion as rope or shut your mouth. You are a hypocrite. The lowest of the low

Reply to  griff
February 12, 2019 7:20 am


The article you linked is about Oxford PV solar cells, not about Georgia Institute of Technology PV solar cells.

It is not the first time you do not read the articles you link, or the opening posts for that matter. That is typical troll behavior.

kent beuchert
Reply to  griff
February 12, 2019 7:27 am

The article is supposed to provide actual numbers in its arguments – not a sign to go look somewhere to find the answers. A really stupid complaint you made. Are you related to the author of this poorly written article?

Reply to  kent beuchert
February 13, 2019 2:03 am

They are different types of perowskite solar cells, made with different starting materials and with different specs.

You don´t go to Toyota website to check Ford cars specs, do you? Even though both are car makers.

Brooks Hurd
Reply to  griff
February 12, 2019 7:54 am


Did you read the article? It claims that in a laboratory they got a perovskite PV cell to 0.6% higher efficiency than silicon PV. The lifetime of perovskite cells is the problem.

Think back to all the hype about CIGS PV cells which had much higher efficiency than perovskite cells. The problem was that CIGS cells were degraded by H2O and O2.

Matthew Drobnick
Reply to  Brooks Hurd
February 12, 2019 8:18 am

Brooks.. Why bother with facts?
It’s the feeling that matters with children and tyrants. Save the facts for reasonable adults.

Reply to  Brooks Hurd
February 12, 2019 9:52 am

Actually, it’s a perovskite and silicon combo cell. The perovskite layer is put on top of the silicon layer. Griff’s article claims the top perovskite layer worked at 17% efficiency.

Reply to  Brooks Hurd
February 12, 2019 10:47 am

How well do CIGS stand up to high radiation exposure?
I wonder if CIGS would work well in an environment where very little O2 and even less H2O existed, such as the lunar surface.
At least on the moon you don’t have to worry about wind or weather. You could place the systems around the moon so that the night side is being powered by the day side.
One nice thing about the moon is the ‘lunar day’ lasts 14 earth days (as does the night).
On the moon’s south pole there is a point on crater’s ridge whose peak always has the sun shining on one face continually. One need only revolve the array to maintain full coverage continuously.

But, none of this will power earth.

Reply to  Brooks Hurd
February 12, 2019 11:47 am

You would just need a 384,000 km extension cord.

February 12, 2019 2:22 am

Yes and it’ll never see the light of day . . .

February 12, 2019 2:34 am

It doesn’t matter how thin, flexible or “cheap” solar panels can be made, solar power will always have the insurmountable flaws of being too: diffuse, intermittent and unreliable to run a power grid.

There will always be the inescapable requirement of conventional fossil fuel/nuclear/hydro power to immediately back up solar power for those ever so rare events of: clouds, dust, snow, ice, and night…

Reply to  SAMURAI
February 12, 2019 3:22 am

No single power source needs to provide all the power we need, all the time. As with Hydro, any power generated by solar reduces the use of fossil fuels, which may be useful (or not…)

Nevertheless, prices for solar technology continue to fall. The 200 MW Kom Ombo solar PV project in Egypt and the 150 MW Round 3 solar PV tender in Jordan both received low bids of 2.752 US$ cent/kWh and 2.488 US$ cent/kWh respectively. This is around 50% cheaper than the natural gas-based price for electricity. It is expected that in the next 3 years the price for solar will reach 1 US$ cent/kWh which would make it among the cheapest in the world.

Think prices 10, 20 and 50 years from now. The handwriting is on the wall.

Reply to  Greg
February 12, 2019 4:10 am

Installed price? Maintenance? Grid hookup? What is the delivered price per kwh? Finally, what price increase to the backup occurs due to it necessarily idling at noon etc.(result, a lower ROI, so price increase is?)

Carl Friis-Hansen
Reply to  Greg
February 12, 2019 4:16 am

You should not make direct comparison between on-demand and intermittent power sources.
Back in 1985, when I worked in R&D for Vestas, you got less for your intermittent contributions back into the grid, that what you had to pay for your electricity download. For political reasons, this has changed.

Reply to  Carl Friis-Hansen
February 12, 2019 6:49 am

As always, Greg is ignoring the cost of the back up supplies that are needed for when the sun doesn’t shine.

Reply to  Greg
February 12, 2019 6:48 am

If it’s intermittent, then you are either going to need storage, or some kind of hot backup.
Both are expensive and the hot backup means you aren’t saving any fossil fuel.

Just because you want to believe something is the future, doesn’t make it so.

A C Osborn
Reply to  MarkW
February 12, 2019 7:03 am

Solar Panels that also need total replacement way before FF & Nuclear Generators.

Reply to  A C Osborn
February 12, 2019 9:50 am

I have been looking for a definitive article on the turnover/replacement of solar and wind “farms”, and related costs. I see only bits and pieces. Can someone here write an article for us plebs? Are they breaking even on cost/benefit basis? Longevity expectations met?

Brooks Hurd
Reply to  Greg
February 12, 2019 8:10 am

To maximize PV cell output, the sun’s rays need to be at 90° from the cell’s surface, otherwise you only get maximum power from 11:30 to 12:30. To maintain this angle, the solar panels need to move to track the sun. This means equipment which must be maintained. Solar panels must be cleaned to keep production up.

PV derived power us based on the actual power arriving at the surface of the panel. This power varies substantially through not only each day, but also through the seasons. Therefore, the installed capacity of a PV system must be multiplied by the power factor to determine the produced power. The power factor of PV systems is in the range of 0.15. Therefore, the actual installed cost is calculated by dividing your figures by 0.15.

Reply to  Brooks Hurd
February 12, 2019 10:53 am

Hopefully you meant “multiplying” your figures bu the installed capacity factor. Dividing by 0.15 increases the expected output.

Reply to  Rocketscientist
February 13, 2019 12:20 am

He was talking cost not output.

David Chappell
Reply to  Brooks Hurd
February 12, 2019 11:39 am

How much of the output generated is needed to power the tracking mechanism?

Reply to  David Chappell
February 12, 2019 11:50 am

Tracking only works until the up sun panels start shading the down sun panels.

John F. Hultquist
Reply to  Greg
February 12, 2019 11:52 am

I hear an echo of “Too cheap to meter.”

Our children will enjoy in their homes electrical energy too cheap to meter… ” [Lewis Strauss, 1954]

Van Doren
Reply to  Greg
February 12, 2019 4:05 pm

Sorry, this is complete BS. CAPEX for photovoltaic/onshore wind is currently circa 0.11€/kWh without backups.

Reply to  Greg
February 13, 2019 12:17 am

Multiply by 6 or 10 for 24/7 power.

Then add batteries.

Reply to  SAMURAI
February 12, 2019 8:20 am

You are right. I live off the grid – not because I want to, but because it costs too much too string power to my property. So, solar cells are the primary source of power. Works fine during the summer (I live in Nevada now). But we and our neighbors would freeze to death without battery arrays and… generators, diesel or propane.
But that all costs a fortune upfront – and when those components need to be replaced.

Reply to  KaliforniaKook
February 12, 2019 10:58 am

How many years of limping along with a make-shift system will it take before it becomes more expensive than the costs of grid connection?
Just curious. Everyone places a different value on marginal utility.

D Anderson
Reply to  SAMURAI
February 12, 2019 8:45 am

I don’t know what advantage there is to being flexible. Just makes it easier to flex it out of the sun light.

James Beaver
Reply to  D Anderson
February 12, 2019 12:59 pm

How about covering your backpack with flexible cells and charging your devices while you hike?
How about putting the cells on a sailboat sail? If it can roll up and not break (cycle number = ?) before the sail gets saggy anyway, that would be huge.
How about installing curved panels on top of every SUV roof? You could run a fan while it’s parked to keep the car cooler.
There are loads of possible applications for curved or flexible solar panels.

That said, I wish the U.S. would build a few dozen new nuclear power plants for high density and durable base load availability.

Richard Patton
Reply to  SAMURAI
February 12, 2019 11:25 am

There still are a lot of applications for very cheap solar cells. Granted-and this is the kicker for ‘sustainability’ people-devices that can use solar energy cannot be made with solar (or even wind) energy. They need (drum roll please) Fossil Fuels!!!!

February 12, 2019 2:40 am

Let’s make a new product with lead in it and put it outside in the rain. How long before we have to deal with lead contamination of the environment?

John Law
Reply to  joe
February 12, 2019 3:00 am

Obviously a different , environmentally friendly lead!

Reply to  joe
February 12, 2019 5:25 am

yeah and rubidium and caesium in the mix?
they cant recycle the ones theyve got now
and theyre less rare/nasty
gues its OPM so they got paid regardless of real worth

Reply to  joe
February 12, 2019 5:36 am

Don’t be silly. If its got lead in it the didicoys will have it down the scrap merchants before its had a chance to even acquire a decent patina… 🙂

Reply to  joe
February 12, 2019 6:50 am

I’m assuming the cells will be encased in something.
These things have enough real problems to attack them over, no need to invent any extra.

For example, the existence of lead in them is going to increase the cost of their disposal.

February 12, 2019 3:04 am

Quality solar panels can now be had for about $0.40 per watt or about $120 for a 300 watt panel or about $2000 for a typical 5000 watt system, enough to generate what the average house uses in sunny areas. Cheaper is better but I’m not convinced there is a cost issue with existing 25+ year panels.

Rhys Jaggar
Reply to  Greg
February 12, 2019 5:25 am

Quality for public needs may need to be higher than acceptable standards to power one home.

Greg Goodman
Reply to  Greg
February 12, 2019 5:39 am

My thoughts exactly. The silicon is no longer the most expensive part of the installation. Less productive panels with major lifetime problems are a waste of time and money ( unless you are on the receiving end of the money , of course ).

Reply to  Greg
February 12, 2019 5:54 am

Solar undoubtedly works in certain situations, but it almost always is connected to offsetting a high fossil fuel price. Right now, here in the US and in many developed countries fossil fuels are basically still cheap and the cost of coal or NG power (all in) is inexpensive.. plus it is available 24×7.

If I live on an island where I need to import diesel or propane to run a generator, the cost of the fossil fuel escalates quickly so each watt offset by a cheaper solar can be money saved.

It also works on my sailboat where I have not only solar panels but a wind generator that charges a large battery bank. In this case the overall power needs are much less than my house so with the exception of running the A/C with a generator on hot still nights, this setup satisfies all my needs.

But if you really want to look at how competitive solar is, just follow the electrical retail rates paid by the consumers. Installing large solar farms does not decrease my total electrical bill in my area of the country so until that happens, the cost issue is in play.

Reply to  rbabcock
February 12, 2019 6:20 am

“If I live on an island”… like Hawaii, where fuel needs to be imported a long way… and there is ample sunshine. Meet the electricity needs for daytime, halve or better your fuel imports.

Reply to  griff
February 12, 2019 6:53 am

griff, of course having to constantly cycle the output of your fossil fuel plants from full power to no power every day is going to drastically raise the cost of such power, not to mention shorten the life of the power plants.

The world is not as simple as you are.

Lee L
Reply to  griff
February 12, 2019 10:24 am

Well yes, half or better as long as you don’t need to use your energy to HEAT something.
Hawaii is a bit of a very best case.

Richard Patton
Reply to  Lee L
February 12, 2019 11:35 am

Yep, I lived there for a few years. Didn’t need heat, didn’t need AC and didn’t even need a fan. According to Mark Twain, “the most equitable climate on Earth,”

Bryan A
Reply to  Lee L
February 12, 2019 7:34 pm

There’s the solution…the entire global population must move to Hawaii to save the world

Patrick MJD
Reply to  griff
February 12, 2019 2:47 pm

Or if you live in the north of England where wood chips have to be transported all the way from north America. Drax sits on top of a coal mine, and coal is concentrated sunlight!

Reply to  Greg
February 12, 2019 6:51 am

And how much do the batteries cost?

Reply to  Greg
February 12, 2019 7:48 am

It snowed again last night, guess I’ll have to sweep the snow off the solar panels. 🙁

Brooks Hurd
Reply to  Greg
February 12, 2019 8:21 am

Your 300 watt panel after multiplying by the power factor, produces 45 whr on average. This means that the actual installed cost per watt is $2.67. PV cells degrade over their lifetime, thus the production decreases with age. Silicon PV cells are less efficient at higher temperatures, therefore panels installed in high temperature locations will produce less power than thus installed at lower temperature locations at the same latitude.

James Beaver
Reply to  Greg
February 12, 2019 1:03 pm

So, $20,000 for an install in the Pacific NW of the U.S., to get any power at all, except in winter, when you get about 2 watts from the entire array.

Van Doren
Reply to  Greg
February 12, 2019 4:33 pm

Best I’ve seen in Germany is 0.77€/W and I doubt the panels were high quality.

February 12, 2019 3:05 am

There’s promise there alright. Cheap, thin, lightweight plastic panels would be a lot nicer to place up on a roof than the old traditional solar panels. Might not even be such a bother to have them replaced about once a year or two (depending on how long scientists can extend their lifetime) so long as the cost savings they offer to the electric bill make it worthwhile. One big concern though is if they’re having to use cesium then disposal of these panels once they’re dead becomes a bit of a problem. Stuff’s radioactive and being an alkali metal highly reactive with water which means these panels will need to be well sealed against moisture. Sending them off to a landfill or a regular plastic recycling facility just won’t do, they’ll have to be sent to a specialized disposal service. This could really limit trying to make these panels commercially viable and keep them from seeing wide scale use.

Reply to  Tim
February 12, 2019 6:56 am

The cells themselves may be lighter than traditional cells, however the modules the cells are packed into and the frames needed to hold the modules haven’t been reduced in size or weight.

Halving the weight of the cells themselves would only pull a few ounces off the total weight of a solar panel array.

Rich Davis
Reply to  MarkW
February 12, 2019 3:12 pm

Yeah but they work for several days before they need to be replaced. Imagine all the green jobs. We’ll be richer than China or India or Malawi.

Rich Davis
February 12, 2019 3:13 am

Seems that we’re back to the usual quality of EurekAlert!

They will work on this for 30 years, creating toxic waste sites across the landscape and harvesting billions in subsidies. The unicorns alas will remain elusive.

If you want to make it cheaper use more rubidium or try gold and platinum. But to make it safer, maybe substitute plutonium for the lead.

Rich Davis
Reply to  Rich Davis
February 12, 2019 4:51 pm

Actually rubidium is cheap at $25/gram. Cesium is a bit more at $30/gram about the same as platinum. Still gold at $42/gram is a much better approach here.

Hmm, it seems that world reserves of Cs are only about 110,000 tons. So maybe it is the way to go after all. Nearly as rare as unicorn horns, so probably almost as effective. If it starts to be used in any volumes, the price will skyrocket. But I’m sure that we could mine some asteroids or something to get a few extra grams. And of course once we have fusion power, we can extract tons out of the ocean. Let’s be practical.

February 12, 2019 3:14 am

Perovskite is titanium oxide, and these have lead and other things, so these are not perovskite solar cells. They are perovskite-type crystal structured solar cells.

Gary Pearse
Reply to  Donald Kasper
February 12, 2019 6:15 am

Calcium-titanium-oxide. But the particular structure crystallographically is the “perovskite” structure. Calcium silicate perovskite is a deep earth mantle mineral that is found as tiny inclusions in diamonds that have come from the deeper mantle region. The titanate perovskite is a common host mineral to econimic rare earth deposits in carbonatite intrusions (composed of carbonates) and alkaline igneous rocks.

I think they should be exploring use of rare- earths (scandium, Yttrium abd the Lanthanide elements) and possibly alkaline earths like Mg, Ca, Sr instead of alkali metals. These likely make a smoother bonding than the alkali metals.

I guess I wouldnt get a mention offering this on WUWT.

February 12, 2019 3:26 am

Science, like used cars, is always oversold in press releases. This is a tiny step in understanding what makes some improvements to perovskite-based solar cells work. There have been several breakthroughs since perovskite was first incorporated to solar cells in 2009, and their efficiency has been growing very fast. There are lots of contenders in this technology and several start-ups dedicated to it.

It is a promising avenue in solar cell research and there is a lot of hype around it. Conversion of solar energy appears to have a hard limit, and plants are already close to it. However reducing the cost of making the cells doesn’t have such a clear limit, so if we find ways of making them sufficiently efficient with cheap abundant materials, that is progress.

Reply to  Javier
February 12, 2019 5:44 am

and silicon isn’t cheap and abundant?

Reply to  Greg
February 12, 2019 6:58 am

Raw silicon isn’t. Pure silicon is.

Reply to  MarkW
February 12, 2019 8:19 am

Pure silicon is expensive.
Just to make it clear.

Michael in Dublin
February 12, 2019 4:23 am

“But figuring out how to produce perovskite-based energy devices that last longer than a couple of months has been a CHALLENGE.”

The word “challenge” is frequently used instead of the word “difficulty” or the word “problem.” This politically correct use is disingenuous. It is dishonest. It demeans the effort needed to address the problem.

More than 70 years ago the Mathematician, George Polya, wrote:
“Solving problems is a fundamental human activity. In fact, the greater part of our conscious thinking is concerned with problems. When we do not indulge in mere musing or daydreaming our thoughts are directed towards some end; we seek means, we seek to solve a problem.”

As technology matures it provides us with cheaper and more efficient solutions. This is precisely why the climate alarmism about what may happen in twenty or fifty or a hundred years is so misplaced. Why squander billions in futile efforts to change the climate rather when we can be patient and wait for necessary technologies to mature?

February 12, 2019 4:36 am

Hey, these will be great to power your portable internet sat link and portable air conditioner on hikes in the Sierras.

Geoff Sherrington
February 12, 2019 4:56 am

A triad used to mean a criminal gang from China using extortion to make illegal gains by organized crime.
Now we are told it describes a crystal structure.
Maybe the first definition fits the better. Geoff

Rhys Jaggar
February 12, 2019 5:22 am

Suddenly renewables are acceptable when the research is American.

How wonderfully racist….

Reply to  Rhys Jaggar
February 12, 2019 5:29 am

Hey Low IQ Boy. American isn’t a race

Reply to  Rhys Jaggar
February 12, 2019 7:01 am

You’re projecting again.

Has anyone said this research, or any other research, is or isn’t acceptable?

In case you haven’t actually bothered to read the responses, there are quite a few people pointing out issues with this research, just as they have with all other such reports that have been posted here.

Perhaps if you spent some time dealing with your entirely justifiable inferiority complexes you wouldn’t feel the need to strike out at those who keep making you look like an idiot.

Reply to  Rhys Jaggar
February 12, 2019 7:34 am

Actually, The first authour, Juan-Pablo Correa-Baena is Colombian, not originally from the USA.

February 12, 2019 5:27 am

Good Morning Sane People. In the land of the willfully blind the one-eyed skeptic is king. How great is it to start every day fighting on the side of folks who know what a perovskite is. I thought it was a snack sized version of a peroski.

Education for all at WUWT served daily

Reply to  troe
February 12, 2019 5:47 am

No, it’s a snack sized version of a ponsi scheme.

Neil Jordan
Reply to  troe
February 12, 2019 9:12 am

Imagine two-eyed skepticss. I looked on line at various mineral sites for Perovskite and stumbled on a mineral classification system which led to this link to an unrelated mine data site in the Austria area:
Brennkogel north slope (Gold district)
That led to this statement:
“Mining ended around 1580 because of severe ice cover.”
A clue to past climate.

February 12, 2019 5:33 am

Any technological innovation is welcome, whether are giant leap forward or even if thought as uneconomic or even useless (centuries of work on perpetual mobile have resulted in many useful sideline innovations) and this applies to devices for conversion of energy from one form to another, as long as they considered with appropriate perspective.

February 12, 2019 5:36 am

Another grand product that just needs new physics to be successful?

Reply to  Matthew W
February 12, 2019 6:42 am

Did you not hear that Obama changed the laws of Physics with his magic pen?

February 12, 2019 5:40 am

Even if solar panels were free and 100% efficient they would still overall be more expensive to deploy effectively than nuclear power.

Why? because the sun isn’t always shining..and we need most electricity when it isn’t, in temperate zones.

The cost of providing all that complex backup and resilience is in excess of just building a nuclear power station and forgetting about solar power altogether.

Reply to  Leo Smith
February 12, 2019 6:21 am

Hmmm… places need much less power from 10pm to 6 am…

Reply to  griff
February 12, 2019 6:44 am

Unless one is trying to charge that dead battery in your electric car along with your neighbors

Matthew Drobnick
Reply to  griff
February 12, 2019 6:54 am

Given the current winter conditions, i fail to see how I need much less power at night, you know, during the coldest stretch when I’m actually at home…

Logic isn’t your strong suit grid, maybe you ought to try going to school for climate studies… They set the bar fairly low so you should be fine

Reply to  griff
February 12, 2019 7:03 am

Where I live, it’s dark from 16:30 to 6:30 during the winter.
Guess I don’t need to stay warm

Hope I don’t need emergency surgery overnight either.

Reply to  griff
February 12, 2019 7:04 am

That depends on where you live and what time of year it is.
Regardless, max sun is just after noon in most places, most of the year. However max demand is usually closer to 5pm.

PS: solar is usually pretty much useless for the first few hours after sunrise and the last few hours before sunset.

Mark A Luhman
Reply to  griff
February 12, 2019 7:16 am

Places need a lot of power from 4 PM to 6 PM right when solar drops out, in the winter the sunsets about around 5:30 PM in Arizona 4:00 PM in Minnesota. So at that time you need a fossil fuel plant to take over and it needs to be running at full output, something that is not easy to do, it so bad utilities are buying piston driven generators to pick up the load in seconds, a expensive and low effencent solution. Make all you so called saving of fossil fuels moot.

Brooks Hurd
Reply to  griff
February 12, 2019 8:28 am


When it’s cold in the winter, your power needs are substantial at night, unless you want to knock ice crystals off your pillow.

February 12, 2019 5:44 am

“Halide metals”?

Steven Fraser
Reply to  DrTorch
February 12, 2019 6:38 am

Metal halides. Sure. Like Silver salts used in photography.

February 12, 2019 5:56 am

I’ll stick with First Solar and the largest R&D budget in the industry, stemming from the best balance sheet in the industry.

Reply to  ResourceGuy
February 12, 2019 7:05 am

“best balance sheet in the industry”

That’s a pretty low bar.

Randle Dewees
February 12, 2019 6:48 am

“Don’t put your lips on that!”

Nice toxic brew

kent beuchert
February 12, 2019 7:37 am

“These solar cells lasts a coule of months?”
Didn’t mention and numbers or details as to why these cells are cheaper to install.
The disaster with solar cells is their disruption of the grid if allowed to dump their
rather low value power onto the grid. LAws are required to prevent this, although if
there are storage devices holding excess solar output that can be demanded by the grid,
that would make solar cells of value for the grid. Otherwise all they do is decrease the
capacity of reliable power generators as they replace plant output, which increases cost per unit
for the plant’s power. Non solar customers are getting screwed two ways : 1) they pay usually half the cost of a neighbors solar roof, and 2) they pay more for their grid supplied power when it is disrupted by solar output. In effect, solar roof owners are welfare recipients.

Coach Springer
February 12, 2019 7:43 am

So, why wouldn’t an environmentalist based political scheme eventually collapse based on the contradictory result of removing so much solar irradiation from the natural environment along with the warming effect of CO2? CAGC anyone?

rhoda klapp
February 12, 2019 7:53 am

Can you use this wonderful technology to convert 300+ W/M2 of back radiation into electricity, thus providing tons of energy and reducing global warming?

February 12, 2019 7:55 am

They could be made nearly free and it wouldn’t solve the low-energy density/cloudiness/huge area-footprint/night-time problems.

February 12, 2019 9:11 am

It’s always “something” with these latest and greatest breakthroughs in energy production. It’s great that they keep trying but save the hype for when there’s actually a viable product ….. or for the boardroom at an investors’ conference.

February 12, 2019 10:08 am

Most of the people in the US would have frozen to death over the past week if they were relying on solar power to heat their homes, no matter how efficient the panels.

February 12, 2019 10:22 am

Cue the mindless naysayers…

Though PV panels aren’t a base load power solution, they ARE a solution for a lot of energy needs. Stop hating on them. Making them cheaper and more efficient is a GOOD thing. And eat some food, you all sound hangry.

Reply to  stinkerp
February 12, 2019 11:54 am

If they aren’t a base load power solution, then why are they being sold as a base load power solution?
If they aren’t a base load power solution, then they are close enough to useless that the difference doesn’t matter.
Nobody “hates on them”, whatever the heck that really means. What we hate is that certain morons want to use them as base load power and they want us to pay for it.

Lee L
February 12, 2019 10:39 am

Well yes, half or better as long as you don’t need to use your energy to HEAT something (say, your home).
Hawaii is a bit of a very best case in sofar as it is usually pretty warm and not cloudy. It still suffers from that pesky night thing though.

February 12, 2019 11:16 am

Leo Smith says it all. Its interesting and who knows it may benefit a isolated place where its too far from the grid, but back here in the real world it is completely useless.

I am sick of the Warmers Green industry completely ignoring the simple fact that all renewables need back up power supply. They talk about how today its cheaper to use renewables, after all the Sun and wind ” are free”, but then completely ignore the fact that this Free power still needs Back Up.

This fact is what we need to publisise , every time a Green talks about renewables , we should say “But what about the cost of the Backup.

Of course at that point, if they can think quickly, they will waffle on about the need to “Save the Planet” and that we must all make sacrafices etc.


Lucius von Steinkaninchen
February 12, 2019 11:27 am

I’m still waiting for research on solar cells that produce *and* store energy on the same device.

February 12, 2019 11:49 am

Regarding “Back up power, any data available about the “Damage” caused by the need to be constantly changing the output of the fossul fuel power supplies. They were designed to be run at a near constant speed.

If additional maintenance is needed, this just adds to the cost that we have to wear to keep the Greens happy. .


February 12, 2019 12:27 pm

These university researchers would doubtless like to become wealthy entrepreneurs. Were there a different president, they might receive untold millions in subsidies. The products they developed would then receive untold millions in subsidies. The companies which remediate the environmental damage they cause would then receive untold millions.

Various former politicians and government officials would no doubt pocket a few bucks as executives, stockholders, consultants, lobbyists and the like.

February 12, 2019 1:51 pm

Alvin Marks – Lumeloid 1986 – inventor of polarized films (sunglasses). Easy to find info.
Someone is keeping it from market.
Perfect for space applications etc..
Even if output estimates are wrong by half it is still triple current PV tech.

Reply to  Jonthetechnologist
February 13, 2019 12:53 am

No one is keeping it from the market. Why would they? The patent – if issued – has run out.

Flight Level
February 12, 2019 3:27 pm

Sounds quite an interesting challenge. About all elements, heat, humidity, UV, heat, cold, oxygen, time, electric current, contribute to an accelerated decay and void the 3 month manufacturer guarantee.

Further on the line, the otherwise limited shelf-life could lead to a more than welcome, subsidized by green energy requirements, boost of express air cargo.

What not to like ?

John Pickens
February 12, 2019 9:22 pm

For large area (>100cm2) perovskite solar cells, the best efficiency I have been able to find on internet searches is 8%. And this is a stacked junction cell on a glass substrate. And they degrade “rapidly”, is the best description I’ve seen.

I personally worked on developing thin film amorphous silicon on glass solar cells, and we were the first to deliver stable >10% efficiency, >100cm2 cells to SERI in Denver, CO. This was back in the late 1980s. Still not competitive with polycrystalline silicon after 30 years.

I won’t be holding my breath for perovskite cells.

February 13, 2019 3:08 am

Intermittency of wind and solar is a huge problem, especially for electrical grids, but let’s discuss off-grid applications.

There are what – over a billion people out there with NO grid energy? Progress in providing grid energy to them has apparently been stifled by uber-green fanatics in governments, at the World Bank and the IFC.

The uber-Green excuse has been that the poorest people in the world cannot have cheap, dispatchable grid energy because increasing atmospheric CO2 will cause us all to burn up from runaway global warming – the nonsense CAGW mantra for which there is NO credible evidence. Several decades of energy progress have been lost because of green nonsense.

The current solution for off-grid people is typically solar-plus-battery, to provide lighting in the evening and also power for mobile phones and computers and internet access systems. Until grid energy can be provided, this off-grid application is one possible solution for the poorest people on Earth.

These systems will not provide enough power for heating or cooking, but the availability of something as basic as lighting after dark, electronic communication and computer access is a huge step forward, especially when you start from nothing.

Gorodon Jeffrey Giles
February 13, 2019 9:27 am

Leave it to the Greens….. they’re the new Reds….. to deliver to us as a “miraculous improvement”…. a product that contains high amounts of lead that disintegrates rapidly through its short-term lifespan leaving us with massive amounts of poisonous material to pollute the earth with. Love it!

These idiots just can’t help themselves…one step forward… two steps back…then get a gun and blow your feet off.

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