Solar energy has long been heralded as a sustainable solution to the world’s ever-growing energy demands. Over the years, technology has advanced, leading to more efficient and flexible solar panels. Panasonic, wants to change the game with their proprietary perovskite solar cells.
These cells are not just designed to generate power but are also intended to be integrated directly into the glass building materials. This makes them not only a source of renewable energy but also a versatile architectural element.
One of the most unique aspects of Panasonic’s perovskite solar cells is the proprietary coating process used to form the power generation layer directly onto the glass substrate. This technique is intended to increase the range of architectural applications where these solar cells can be utilized. This “power-generating glass” can serve as a functional, energy-producing part of a building while offering design flexibility. We’ll explain why below.
Panasonic leverages a unique combination of ink-jet coating and laser processing technology to enhance the product further. This allows for a high degree of customization in terms of size, transparency, and design.
The freedom to tailor these solar cells to various requirements means they can be integrated more seamlessly into different types of structures, including residential and commercial buildings. Since it’s a relatively new product, we expect commercial projects to use this first, and residential buildings might select it later as economies of scale set in.
Despite their design flexibility, Panasonic’s perovskite solar cells do not compromise on power generation efficiency. According to the company, they match or beat the average efficiency of conventional crystalline silicon solar cells. Furthermore, these perovskite solar cells have achieved a very good power generation efficiency of 17.9% for modules of practical size (>800 cm^2), a figure certified by a third-party measurement organization.
Types of Panels
Panasonic plans to showcase four different types of panels:
- Full Coating Panel: This version claims the world’s highest power generation efficiency.
- 20% Transparency Panel: Offering partial transparency, this panel could be suitable for various aesthetic requirements.
- 50% Transparency Panel: With even more transparency, this panel could be utilized as window glass.
- Gradation Panel: This version offers a gradient in its transparency, providing unique design possibilities.
The 20%, 50%, and gradation panels are designed to demonstrate their transparency by placing an object behind them. This emphasizes their potential use as window glass in balconies or other parts of buildings, thereby integrating seamlessly into daily life.
Panasonic’s introduction of perovskite solar cells integrated with glass building materials represents a new approach in the renewable energy sector. With their combination of high efficiency, design flexibility, and architectural utility, these solar cells offer promising prospects for the sustainable development of urban environments. At the moment, it is available in smaller tiles, but down the road, Panasonic plans to release much larger versions, comparable to standard solar panels.