Ever hear of these? Good scrabble words to be sure….yet they are more important than a little entertainment. As where Methane Hydrates are seen as the holy grail of North Slope energy production (and could change the shape of the energy economy if they could safely be extracted), perovskites may be the product that allows mid and low income folks to outfit their home roofs, carports and possibly even vehicles with solar generation.
The downfall of current solar panels (Photovoltaic- PV) is the size, bulk and cost which requires a huge capital outlay and makes it a long term investment with payback periods reaching a couple decades in some systems (depending on the utility’s Power Purchase Agreement price and extent of domestic use). The silicon wafers that warm up, in a nutshell, induce excited and unorganized electrons to create current. With a good charge controller loading it onto battery banks the expense is for a whole system really. With net metering (if allowed by your utility) the cost of investment for production per kilowatt is less than if you bank all the power, and a lot of people can use this ‘trade off’ system justify buying silicon panels, which notably are far cheaper than ten years ago, falling in some cases 7 to 10 fold in price when compared to today’s deals.
Yet coming on the scene with a much more dramatic production cost are perovskites. This material simply is easier and lighter to produce. Silicon cells are made up of ultra this wafers that have to be cut from the mineral. Perovskites on the other hand, are made from pouring chemical solutions onto an absorbable flat surface. So while PV panels have just been inching to be competitive to fossil fuels, with gaining on 20% efficiency perovskites may pop through as preferential. Their one downfall is- moisture. They do degrade. On some products that are protected from elements or short lived that will not be a big deal. Anyway, keep your eye on the horizon for possibly cheaper materials to heat your seasonal remote camps now- as well as mobile vehicles at some point (provided the available surface area is large enough).