Now, researchers from The University of Warwick have shown that perovskites using tin in place of lead are much more stable than previously thought, and so could prove to be a viable alternative perovskite for solar cells.
Lead-free cells could render solar power cheaper, safer and more commercially attractive – leading to it becoming a more prevalent source of energy.
The team have also shown how the device structure can be greatly simplified without compromising performance, which offers the important advantage of reduced fabrication cost.
Perovskite solar cells are lightweight and compatible with flexible substrates, so could be applied more widely than the rigid flat plate silicon solar cells that currently dominate the photovoltaics market, particularly in consumer electronics and transportation applications.
Lead researcher Dr Hatton said: “It is hoped that this work will help to stimulate an intensive international research effort into lead-free perovskite solar cells, like that which has resulted in the astonishingly rapid advancement of lead perovskite solar cells.
“There is now an urgent need to tackle the threat of climate change resulting from humanity’s over reliance on fossil fuel, and the rapid development of new solar technologies must be part of the plan.”