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  • Writer's pictureMaya Ardon

What does the 30% barrier mean for solar energy?

Written by: Maya Ardon

Edited by: Vanessa Lu Langley

Solar energy uses sunlight and heat to produce a renewable form of energy (read more about it here). This process occurs in solar cells, which convert the products from the sun into electricity. New technology has been emerging in the solar cell industry to increase the efficiency of these cells in producing energy.

Silicon has traditionally prevailed in the industry due to its cost-effective manner of production, durability, and efficiency. However, the medium only has a theoretical efficiency limit of 29.4% (Irving, 2022). Perovskite has been emerging as an alternative medium, but rather than replacing silicon, it has been used together with silicon to develop new solar cell technology that can transcend the efficiencies of either material separately (Irving, 2022). The materials are successful because they capture different wavelengths of light, enabling the technology to expand its range. Further, perovskite offers benefits in contrast to some shortcomings of the traditional silicon; for example, it is more tolerant of defects in its structures and can function well even with some impurities, which is not the case for silicon (Chandler, 2022).

The record efficiency of the tandem silicon-perovskite was broken in July due to a different design, transcending 30% efficiency. The next step would be to analyze how such technology can be applied on a larger scale and for longer periods of time (Irving, 2022). The implications of this are compelling for the energy world: using these designs for a solar cell, solar energy can prove to be a cheap and efficient form of sustainable energy for future uses.


Works Cited

Chandler, D. L. (2022, July 15). Explained: Why perovskites could take solar cells to new heights. MIT News | Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Retrieved September 18, 2022, from

Irving, M. (2022, July 7). Perovskite-silicon solar cells break 30% efficiency barrier. New Atlas. Retrieved September 18, 2022, from


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