Cheaper solar panels could be on the way after a scientific breakthrough.
Using enhanced halide perovskite – a man-made material with repeating crystals shaped like cubes – in place of silicon could produce less expensive devices that stand up better to light and heat, according to researchers led by the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Solar power still accounts for a little less than 3% of electricity generated in the US in large part because of the high cost to produce solar cells. One way to lower the cost of production would be to develop solar cells that use less-expensive materials than today’s silicon-based models, the researchers claim. To achieve that, some engineers have zeroed in on halide perovskite, a type of human-made material with repeating crystals shaped like cubes.
In theory, perovskite-based solar cells could be made with raw materials that cost less and are more readily available than silicon; they also could be produced using less energy and a simpler manufacturing process.

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