Anita Ho-Baillie, a Senior Research Fellow at the Australian Centre for Advanced Photovoltaics, has announced that her team at the University of New South Wales has achieved the highest efficiency rating with the largest perovskite solar cells to date.

The 12.1% efficiency rating was for a 16 cm2 perovskite solar cell, the largest single perovskite photovoltaic cell certified with the highest energy conversion efficiency, and was independently confirmed by the international testing centre, Newport Corp. The new cell is at least 10 times bigger than the current certified high-efficiency perovskite solar cells on record.

Dr Ho-Baillie, who is a former chief engineer for Solar Sailor, said that “Perovskites came out of nowhere in 2009, with an efficiency rating of 3.8%, and have since grown in leaps and bounds. These results place UNSW among the best groups in the world producing state-of-the-art high performance perovskite solar cells. And I think we can get to 24% within a year or so.”

To make a perovskite solar cells, engineers first dissolve a selection of compounds in a liquid to make the ‘ink’, then deposit this on a specialised glass which can conduct electricity. When the ink dries, it leaves behind a thin film, which crystallises on top of the glass when mild heat is applied, resulting in a thin layer of perovskite crystals.