Exploring the Solar Revolution: Unlocking Next-Gen Photovoltaics

Solar energy has proven to be one of the most widely harnessed sources of renewable energy with a global installed capacity of more than 486GW. Recent innovations have revolutionised the way we harness solar energy, promising increased efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and versatility through non-toxic processes of production.

Photovoltaic cells are currently the most prevalent technology in solar energy. However, as research and development progress and global energy needs increase due to population growth, solar panels have undergone necessary upgrades and updates. Thin-film and perovskite panels have emerged as notable contenders in the solar energy sector, showcasing promising advancements in renewable energy technology.

Thin - Film Panels

Thin-film solar panels are an alternative to the more common crystalline silicon (c-Si) solar panels. The concept of thin-film solar panels emerged in the early 1970s, and by 1986, the first commercial thin-film panel was released. Thin-film solar panels offer a distinct advantage over traditional crystalline silicon modules due to their reduced dependency on semiconductor material during manufacturing. Unlike their bulkier counterparts, thin-film panels utilize a much thinner layer of semiconductor material, resulting in lower production costs and resource consumption.

The photovoltaic effect, fundamental to all solar energy generation, is harnessed within the semiconductor layer of thin-film PV modules. When sunlight strikes the panel, it energizes electrons within this layer, prompting them to move and create an electric current. This generated electricity is then directed through an external circuit, where it can be utilized for various applications. This streamlined process not only makes thin-film panels more cost-effective to produce but also enhances their flexibility and adaptability for diverse installation scenarios, making them an increasingly popular choice in the solar energy industry.

Perovskite Panels

Solar panels made from Halide perovskites came to be known as perovskite cells. These materials are named after Russian mineralogist L.A. Perovski, who discovered the original mineral perovskite (calcium titanium oxide, CaTiO₃) in 1839. In comparison to the most advanced photovoltaic (PV) technologies, perovskite solar cells have shown competitive power conversion efficiencies (PCE) with the potential for higher performance; however, their stability is limited. Perovskite solar cells boast versatility in manufacturing, accommodating various surfaces. With lightweight design and lower production costs than silicon panels, they offer a cost-effective alternative.

Their high efficiency, comparable to silicon-based cells, positions them as a promising option for sustainable energy generation. Perovskite solar cell efficiency stands at around 29.15% making it the most efficient thin-film technology, surpassing the 14.0%, 22.1%, and 23.4% conversion efficiency for amorphous silicon (a-Si), cadmium telluride (CdTe), and copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS) thin-film technologies, respectively.

The rise of new technologies have increased the capacity and momentum towards a net zero emissions future. Sustainiam is leading the charge towards a net zero future by enabling solar projects to register themselves on a platform to monetize their attributes. Sustainiam’s Certificate Issuance Platform (CiP) and the revolutionary Emissions Xchange (EmX) , streamline the process from device registration to trading of renewable energy certificates on a transparent digital marketplace . These cutting edge products and ideas are expected to boost the productivity of renewable energy projects, thus contributing to the goal of a net zero emission world in the near future.

Date: 10/04/2024
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