Solar Is Dirt-Cheap and About to Get Even More Powerful
After g for decades on ting costs, the solar industry is shifting attention to making new advances in technology.
inside KEPCO Research Institute laboratory
A perovskite solar cell at KEPCO's Research Institute laboratory in Daejeon, South Korea.Photographer: SeongJoon Cho/Bloomberg
While many current developments involve tweaks to existing technologies, perovskite promises a genuine breakthrough. Thinner and more transparent than polysilicon, the material that’s traditionally used, perovskite could eventually be layered on top of existing solar panels to boost efficiency, or be integrated with glass to make building windows that also generate power.
“We will be able to take solar power to the next level,” said Kim Dohyung, principal researcher on a perovskite project team at Korea Electric Power Corp., one of several companies experimenting with the material. “Ultimately, this new technology will enable us to make a huge contribution in lowering greenhouse gas emissions.”
Adoption of perovskite has previously been challenged by costs and technical issues that prevented commercial-scale production. There are now signs that’s changing: Wuxi UtmoLight Technology Co. in May announced plans to a pilot line by October with mass production beginning in 2023.
Massachusetts-based 1366 Technologies Inc., which makes wafers for solar cells, last month said it's merging with Hunt Perovskite Technologies LLC. The new company, called CubicPV, combines two complementary technologies that offer the potential to create more efficient panels. It plans to produce photovoltaic products that will use Hunt’s perovskite technology, layered atop a silicon wafer developed by 1366.