For the past decade, solar energy developers have been abuzz over a group of crystalline materials called perovskites because they show promise to enable efficient solar cells that, due to the materials’ printability, could be mass-produced cheaply.
As a Stanford graduate student, Bailie broke ground with his research into combining perovskite with conventional solar materials in order to create tandem devices that can turn more of the spectrum into electricity.
Tandem is the moniker used to describe such combined solar cells, and so it follows that Bailie has recently renamed his startup, which was born as Iris PV, to Tandem PV.Tandem PV’s approach to manufacturing photovoltaic cells is to deposit a metal-halide perovskite solar cell, which is transparent to infrared light, over a silicon-based cell, which then absorbs that infrared energy.
It’s important to note that the highest practical efficiency of silicon cells is 25 percent, whereas a tandem photovoltaic cell made from perovskite and silicon could reach 30 or even 35 percent.
That potential - and the possibility of producing perovskite tandems cheaply - accounts for all the excitement over this new type of solar energy that Tandem PV is pursuing.
In early January, Tandem PV landed a $225,000 grant through the National Science Foundation’s Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Technology Transfer program in order to identify opportunities to use perovskite solar cells to power wireless sensors or other devices used indoors to enable Internet of Things applications.
This influx of funding has enabled Tandem PV to bring on four new hires: principal chemist Matt Kuchta; principal engineer Dave Pechin; device engineers Jack Love and Alex Sharenko.