glasstec 2014 – Façades the focal point: wafer-thin solar cells transform glass fronts into power plants

Cities are eating up an increasing amount of heat and electricity. In order to reduce this consumption, buildings have to become increasingly efficient and integrate more renewable energies. New, printable photovoltaic semi-conductors could help to boost this trend. They enable solar films and modules to be produced, which transform windows or façades into electric power generators. A new market is being created for the manufacturers of solar glass and modules.

The race for the best solar cells material has a new candidate: Perowskit. No other semi-conductor has enabled researchers to succeed in achieving such a dramatic development in efficiency levels. “There is now an absolute hype surrounding Perowskit,” says Thomas Unold, head of the Institute for Technologies (Institut für Technologien) at the Helmholtz-Centre Berlin.

The mineral promises to be efficient and at the same time inexpensive. Up to now it has not been possible to combine both these characteristics: currently the best silicon cells achieve an efficiency level of over 20%, but are expensive to produce. Pigment and organic solar cells in turn can simply be printed on film, but often do not exceed an efficiency level just over ten percent.

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