Perovskite solar cells have emerged as the next generation of photovoltaic cells since their inception in 2009. The efficiency of perovskite solar cells has increased from 3.8% in 2009 to 25.2% in 2019. These solar cells have advantages such as flexibility, cost-effectiveness, and high efficiency over their traditional rival silicon-based solar cells.
Recently, researchers in one of the highly reputable and reliable laboratories, the US National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), have achieved a breakthrough in developing a next-generation window called Thermochromic Photovoltaic Window or Switchable Color window. This was developed using metal halide perovskites in the thermochromic photovoltaic window that can lower the need for air conditioning as can also generate electricity.
According to TaiyangNews, to achieve this aim, the team placed a thin perovskite film between 2 layers of glass and injected vapor with the latter, triggering a reaction due to which perovskite is forced to arrange itself into different shapes from a chain to a sheet to a cube. With changing shapes, the colors also emerge, and lowering the humidity returns the perovskite to its normal transparent state.
“The first-generation solar window was able to switch back and forth between transparent and reddish-brown color, requiring temperatures between 150º and 175º Fahrenheit to trigger the transformation. The latest iteration allows a broad choice of colors and works at 95º to 115º Fahrenheit, a glass temperature easily achieved on a hot day,” explain the researchers.
It is worth mentioning that US residential buildings using 74% of all generated electricity and commercial buildings using 39% of all energy in the country. Thus, thermochromic photovoltaic windows can meet a large portion of the electricity demand of these buildings. Thermochromic photovoltaic windows have also a massive potential to use in building-integrated photovoltaics (BIPV).
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