A highly efficient, thin-film solar cell has been developed by scientists from the UCLA Samueli School of Engineering. It can generate more energy from sunlight than typical solar panels because of its double-layered design. (More about solar energy generation process here.) Thanks to the tandem design of the solar cell (perovskite-CIGS), it absorbs energy from two distinct parts of the solar spectrum over the same device area, which increases the amount of solar energy compared to the CIGS layer alone.
Manufacturing process of this solar cell starts by spraying a thin (about 1 micrometer thick) layer of perovskite material (very efficient at capturing solar energy compound of Lead and Iodine) on top of the typical solar cell. Bottom layer of the device consists of about 2 micrometers thick CIGS material (a compound of Copper, Indium, Gallium and Selenide).
Thanks to this procedure, new cell converts up to 22.4% of the incoming solar energy, which was confirmed by independent laboratory tests at the U.S. Department of Energy. CIGS layer alone absorbs sunlight and generates energy at a rate of 18.7 percent efficiency on its own, but adding the perovskite layer makes it even better. The entire assembly is put on a glass substrate that is about 2 millimeters thick.
This sets a new record for this type of cell – it’s efficiency rate is similar to the poly-silicon solar cells that currently dominate the photovoltaics market. The previous efficiency record has been set in 2015 and was 10.9%.