The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has announced $20 million in funding to advance perovskite solar photovoltaic technologies. Perovskites are a family of materials with a specific crystal structure, named after the mineral with that structure. When used to create solar cells, they have shown potential for high performance and low production costs. To be competitive in the marketplace, perovskite’s long-term durability must be tested and verified, the aim of this funding opportunity announcement through DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE).
“Under this Administration, the Department of Energy is committed to an ‘all-of-the-above’ energy strategy, including solar and other renewable technologies,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette. “We will continue to invest in early-stage research and development to improve the affordability, reliability, and value of solar technologies on the grid and position the United States as the world’s leading manufacturer of clean energy technologies.”
“Perovskites are a promising solar technology that could help us reach the next level of innovative and efficient solar power,” said Deputy Secretary of Energy Mark W. Menezes. “Our goal is to further advance this technology here in the United States. The research and development supported by this $20 million investment will help us better understand how perovskite solar cells, which can be manufactured quickly, can further this mission.”
Some of the goals of the DOE Solar Energy Technologies Office are to improve understanding of perovskite stability; establish methods to produce high-efficiency, stable perovskite devices using industry-relevant fabrication techniques; and develop test protocols that enable high confidence in long-duration field performance of perovskite-based photovoltaic technologies.
DOE will fund projects in three topic areas:
Topic Area 1: Device R&D (Efficiency and Stability) – This topic area will focus on research projects to advance perovskite efficiency and stability at the cell or mini-module scale beyond the current state of the art technology. Projects may include intrinsic and extrinsic approaches to improve stability, methods to understand and characterize degradation, alternative materials or processes to improve performance or reduce costs, and advanced device architecture, including tandems. Teams may be led by academic, DOE National Laboratory, or industry researchers, and should include diverse participants from the research and development (R&D) community to maximize relevance and utilization of results.
Topic Area 2: Manufacturing R&D – This topic area will fund research projects to address challenges with manufacturing perovskite modules at relevant scale and throughput. Key areas will include process uniformity and repeatability, cell to module conversion losses, and encapsulation approaches. Teams must be led by a for-profit or nonprofit business and should include substantial involvement by established manufacturing and process engineering entities with proven expertise in the area.
Topic Area 3: Validation and Bankability Center – This topic area seeks to establish a neutral, independent validation center that can be used to verify perovskite device performance and address acceptance and bankability challenges. Independence and neutrality are required to ensure there are no conflicts of interest between this effort and other projects seeking to demonstrate high-performance devices. This center will be responsible for developing and refining test protocols, including accelerated life testing that closely correlates with long-term field performance. The center will also be responsible for operating an extensive field testing effort using devices produced by the R&D community to iteratively refine all test protocols and improve community understanding of remaining stability and performance issues. The center will investigate the environmental impact of perovskite technologies and serve as an objective source of information and analysis for the investment and finance communities. Teams must be led by a DOE Federally Funded Research and Development Center/National Laboratory.
News item from DOE