Solar technology finds itself in a state of transition. In the recent past, a decline in prices for photovoltaic modules has led to strong growth for solar energy on the market. New technological developments now promise to bring additional momentum to the market – with solar cells whose efficiency should surpass the limits of established technologies. These new solar cells contain a special material (methylammonium lead halide) with a perovskite crystal structure that makes ground-breaking solutions possible: for example, the combination of a silicon cell with a perovskite solar cell. A so-called tandem cell such as this has a better light yield and can achieve a higher level of efficiency.
However, whether the new perovskite solar cells are really better is not only a question of their efficiency. From an economic perspective, the electricity production costs are decisive. These are calculated on the basis of the expenditure for materials and production in relation to the return under real operating conditions. From an environmental viewpoint, the environmental impact over the service life of the solar modules is of interest. Here, the positive impact of emission-free electricity generation must be weighed against resource consumption during the modules’ production. The service life of the modules is decisive for their environmental added value and economic success. The long-term stability of perovskite cells has yet to be demonstrated. And finally, every technological change also entails social consequences. This is because people are always affected at every stage – from the mining of the raw materials to the production of the modules at factories and their ultimate operation.