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Scientists are working to revolutionize the solar energy world by developing a new type of solar cell known as perovskite cells. These cells have the potential to convert more solar power than traditional silicon cells at a lower production cost. By stacking perovskite cells on top of silicon cells, tandem cells can be created that have the potential to increase efficiency by over 50%. With the increasing electrification of vehicles and the push towards renewable energy sources, the need for more efficient solar cells is becoming more urgent.

One major challenge in making perovskite cells at a commercial scale is the process of coating the semiconductor onto glass plates. Currently, this process requires a small box filled with non-reactive gas to prevent the perovskites from reacting with oxygen. However, researchers have discovered an additive, dimethylammonium formate (DMAFo), that can prevent oxidation and allow the coating to take place in ambient air. Perovskite cells made with DMAFo additive have achieved an efficiency of nearly 25% and showed improved stability, retaining 90% efficiency after exposure to simulated sunlight for 700 hours.

The study brings perovskite solar cells one step closer to commercialization. Scientists are actively developing tandem cells with an efficiency of over 30% that are as stable as silicon panels over a 25-year period. The Tandems for Efficient and Advanced Modules using Ultrastable Perovskites (TEAMUP) consortium, led by Michael McGehee, is working to develop stable tandem perovskites that are commercially viable. These cells have the potential for broader applications than traditional silicon panels and could be used in various settings, including on the roofs of electric vehicles, drones, and sailboats.

Despite the progress made in perovskite solar cells, further research is needed to ensure their long-term stability and viability. Perovskite cells are still more reactive and degrade faster than silicon panels when exposed to the air. Continued testing is required to determine how these cells will hold up over time. The goal is to create tandem cells that are not only more efficient than silicon panels but also equally stable over a 25-year period, paving the way for widespread adoption of this next generation solar technology.

The potential of perovskite solar cells is significant, with the ability to dominate the market and become the next generation of solar cells. These cells could have a range of applications, from providing additional range to electric vehicles to powering drones and sailboats. With higher efficiency and potentially lower costs, perovskite cells have the capacity to transform the solar energy industry. Despite the challenges that remain, researchers are confident that perovskite cells are on track to become a major player in the solar energy market. By continuing to innovate and improve the technology, the future of solar energy looks promising with perovskite cells leading the way.

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