In partnership with AESP: The increasing roles of DERs, connected technology and Big Data are driving rapid change in energy efficiency. As we shape the Utility of the future, this community will help you keep up with the latest developments. 


Solar Cell Energy Efficiency Improves

image credit: Photo 24092598 © Vaclav Volrab |
Paul Korzeniowski's picture
B2B Content producer, Self-employed

Paul is a seasoned (basically old) freelance B2B content producer. Through the years, he has written more than 10,000 items (blogs, news stories, white papers, case studies, press releases and...

  • Member since 2011
  • 1,593 items added with 564,973 views
  • Aug 29, 2022

Energy efficiency initiatives typically center on finding ways to lower energy needs in homes and businesses. But improved energy efficiency may also have a positive impact on the transition from fossil fuel to renewable energy. 

The path from fossil fuels to renewables has been slow to take shape because the latter are expensive and hard to deploy. One reason is the silicon used to make solar panels is quite expensive. On top of that, it can only be manufactured in stiff sheets, meaning that only a certain kind of building can attempt to use solar energy. A possible solution to the problems is emerging.

An Alternative to Silicon Emerges

Perovskite solar cells are cheaper than silicon. They can actually be printed from inks, which also gives them an edge in terms of weight and flexibility. Unfortunately, they cannot stand a normal outdoor environment. A little bit of excessive weather disables perovskite solar cells.

Scientists at Imperial College London solved this problem by injecting ferrocenes into perovskite solar cells. Ferrocenes are compounds with iron at their center, surrounded by sandwiching rings of carbon. One property this structure gives solar cells is excellent electron richness, which in this case allows electrons to move more easily from the perovskite layer to subsequent layers, improving the resiliency and efficiency of converting solar energy to electricity. In fact, the team reached a record-high efficiency of 25% and passed the stability test set by the International Electrotechnical Commission.

Improving the Business Case  

The development could help solar suppliers on two fronts. These solutions have been much more expensive than fossil fuel alternatives. The perovskite solar cells should cost less than alternatives.

Also, utilities have had problems storing renewable energy, collecting it during the day when the sun shines brightest and then being able to use it at night when it shines least.  Developing more efficient solar arrays increases their energy efficiency.

The energy industry’s ultimate goal is to lessen dependency on other fuels and make solar a more attractive alternative. Developing stronger, less costly solar cells is a step in that direction.   

However, the work is in an early stage of development. Right now, no commercial products are based on it. The road from scientific discovery to commercial product requires time, money, and effort – and not all ventures are successful. Government support may help the process but thus far none has been forthcoming.

Solar energy has been hindered by high costs. Embracing Perovskite solar cells enhanced with ferrocenes may help lower them, but a lot of work remains for that possibility to become a reality. 


No discussions yet. Start a discussion below.

Paul Korzeniowski's picture
Thank Paul for the Post!
Energy Central contributors share their experience and insights for the benefit of other Members (like you). Please show them your appreciation by leaving a comment, 'liking' this post, or following this Member.
More posts from this member

Get Published - Build a Following

The Energy Central Power Industry Network® is based on one core idea - power industry professionals helping each other and advancing the industry by sharing and learning from each other.

If you have an experience or insight to share or have learned something from a conference or seminar, your peers and colleagues on Energy Central want to hear about it. It's also easy to share a link to an article you've liked or an industry resource that you think would be helpful.

                 Learn more about posting on Energy Central »