For the first time, scientists have figured out a way to create efficient, affordable spray-on solar cells. While the concept itself isn’t something new, spray-on technology in the past has been so inefficient or costly that it didn’t hold much promise for changing the way we make solar panels. But now, using a new material called perovskite, scientists have created a spray-painting process that could change the solar game.
Right now the gold standard for solar power is silicon, which has a light absorbing efficiency of about 25%. Organic cells hover right around 10% and, until now, spray-on technology never got out of the single digits. But perovskite, which is a calcium titanium oxide mineral, can get as high as 19% efficiency – not far off of silicon.
Having spray technology could make solar production quicker and more affordable. But it could also change the way we use solar in other ways: you could spray cars or coat oddly-shaped objects or architecture. It could be used in a thousand different places that we haven’t even dreamed of yet. And with solar becoming more and more important for energy production, the new technology is perfectly timed.