Is Perovskite The Holy Grail for Solar Fabric Based Products
Imagine a truck tarp that can harvest the energy of sunlight! With the help of new textile-based solar cells developed by Fraunhofer researchers, semitrailers could soon be producing the electricity needed to power cooling systems or other onboard equipment. In short, textile-based solar cells could soon be adding a whole new dimension to photovoltaics, complementing the use of conventional silicon-based solar cells.
Fabric-based solar cells ready for market launch in around five years
The research team has already produced an initial prototype. “This has demonstrated the basic functionality of our textile-based solar cells,” Rebenklau says. “Right now, they have an efficiency of between 0.1 and 0.3 percent.” In a follow-up project, he and the team are seeking to push this over the five percent mark, at which point the textile-based solar cells would prove commercially viable. Silicon-based solar cells are significantly more efficient, at between ten and 20 percent. However, this new form of solar cell is not intended to replace the conventional type, merely offer a alternative for specific applications. In the coming months, the team will be investigating ways of enhancing the service life of the fabric-based solar cells. If all goes according to plan, the first textile-based solar cells could be ready for commercialization in around five years. This would fulfill the original goal of the PhotoTex project: to provide new stimulus for Germany’s textile industry and improve its competitiveness.