In the year since the Inflation Reduction Act supercharged clean energy manufacturing, rarely does a week go by without a new solar factory notice. Rich incentives have led to unprecedented investments.
But making solar panels is really hard. Not only does it require a lot of energy, but complicated global supply chains leave profit margins razor thin. And existing technology is bumping up against theoretical efficiency limits.
Industry heavyweights see perovskite solar cells as the heir apparent to the crystalline chemistries that currently dominate global supply. They're betting that perovskites will offer a domestically produced, higher-efficiency, flexible, and cheaper alternative.
The perovskite revolution is not without its detractors, though. Sizeable achievements are needed to take perovskites from labs to commercial viability.
Episode 57 of the Factor This! podcast features Joseph Berry, a Senior Research Fellow at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and Paul Warley, the CEO of Ascent, a company working to commercialize perovskites for agriculture and space applications.
Perovskites could be the missing link as terawatt-scale solar and broad decarbonization are pursued. Or, they could end up on the proverbial ash heap of history. Which is it?
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