New KAUST tandem solar cell breaks efficiency world record

The dynamic duo of silicon and perovskite continue their rampage through the solar cell industry. Researchers at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology have developed a new silicon/perovskite tandem solar cell with a record-breaking efficiency.

Most commercial solar cells have traditionally been made with silicon as the active ingredient, and this has gotten the tech into widespread use.

These solar cells are starting to bump up against the physical limits of silicon’s efficiency, so there isn’t much more room left for improvement without radically changing the recipe.

When the two materials are forced to work together, they achieve even better results, with efficiencies recently reaching well over 30%. And now, a new record has been set.

Engineers at the KAUST Solar Center have developed a silicon/perovskite tandem solar cell with an efficiency of 33.2%, under regular one-Sun illumination, which is the highest efficiency of any kind of two-junction solar cell.

The record has been independently certified by the European Solar Test Installation and added to the Best Research-cell Efficiency Chart managed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

This marks a 0.7% increase over the previous record-holder: a cell with 32.5% efficiency developed by a team at Helmholtz Zentrum Berlin and announced last December.

The KAUST team hasn’t elaborated on exactly what improvements were made to the solar cell to claim the new record.