A recent innovation in solar technology can lead to large-scale and inexpensive printing of solar cells. Scientists at the University of Toronto Engineering were able to develop an alternative type of solar device called perovskite solar cells. Unlike the current commercial solar cells that undergo energy-intensive and costly processes, this new type developed by Dr. Hairen Tan and colleagues, uses materials and techniques to produce solar cells at very low cost.
In the past, there were some challenges that restrained further development of perovskite solar technology. However, Tan and his team were able to explore a low-temperature processing technique and electron-selective layer (silicon cells), which makes the new type of solar cells perform better than the conventional solar cells. Tan stated that with their low-temperature process, perovskite cells could be coated directly on top of silicon without damaging underlying material. He adds that this perovskite-silicon hybrid of solar cells, which is more efficient by 30%, could make solar power a better source of energy.
Advances in renewable sources of energy promise a better future for the world economy. There may be a few more small hurdles to overcome in order to further manufacturing of perovskite-silicon solar cells, but there is no stopping computational engineering from generating solutions. The technology opens up new doors to creation of new-generation devices and basic affordable facilities that may benefit developing nations as well. Currently, solar power generation is concentrated on industrialized countries that have enough resources and awareness to support the solar industry.