The price of solar electricity is now lower than the price of conventional electricity in many parts of Australia, and solar panels have been installed on over one million roofs across the country. Globally renewables now account for more than half of new electricity capacity. This presentation will give an overview of the astonishing growth in solar we’ve seen to date, and what we can expect for the future. The dominant technology is silicon, but silicon has fundamental efficiency limitations. We can therefore expect that new materials will be incorporated in solar cells in the future. Combining perovskites with silicon is a particularly attractive option for producing cheap, high efficiency and high voltage solar cells. We demonstrate two different 4-terminal tandem configurations in which the efficiency is as high as 26%, which is the highest efficiency that has been achieved with a potentially low cost process.
Kylie Catchpole is Professor in the Research School of Engineering at the Australian National University. Kylie's research focuses on using new materials and nanotechnology to improve solar cells. Her work on plasmonic solar cells was named as one of the top 10 emerging technologies in 2010 by MIT Technology Review, and in 2013 she was awarded a Future Fellowship from the Australian Research Council. In 2015 she was awarded the John Booker Medal for Engineering Science from the Australian Academy of Science. She has over 100 scientific publications and her work has also been featured in the news sections of Science magazine and The Economist.