Long-Term Reliability as a Critical Lever in Determining the Impact of Emerging Solar Technology

David P. Fenning, Wednesday, May 30th, 2:30-4pm
The School of Global Policy and Strategy
Conference Room #3106
Please RSVP to D2Iseminars@ucsd.edu



Solar power offers a clear path to reducing CO2 emissions from energy production and in broader electrification of our society if costs can continue to fall. Even as commercial silicon solar technology achieves grid parity across diverse geographical areas, the halide perovskite solar cells have attracted significant research interest in recent years because of their low-cost potential based on low-temperature manufacturing and a rapid rise in power conversion efficiency to the level of existing commercial technologies. However, a key component in delivering solar at a levelized cost of electricity that undercuts traditional carbon-based power sources is achieving decades of reliable operation. To date, perovskite solar cells have lacked the necessary durability. In this talk, I will discuss our recent advances in understanding the instability of next-generation hybrid perovskite solar cells and opportunities to improve their performance, sharing insights from our in situ nanoprobe X-ray microscopy investigations of non-stoichiometry and defects in perovskite solar cells. Within the context of solar cell reliability, I will also introduce our ongoing work to extend the operational lifetime of silicon photovoltaics beyond several decades to enable their large-scale integration with energy storage at competitive cost. In addition to familiar metrics of cost and efficiency, reliability will play an integral role in determining the growth rate and impact of photovoltaics on the grid.

Dr. David P. Fenning is an Assistant Professor in NanoEngineering at UC San Diego, where his group researches materials for solar energy conversion and storage. Currently, his work focuses on defects and reliability in silicon and hybrid perovskite solar cells and CO2 electrocatalysis for solar fuels.  After completing his Ph.D. on silicon solar cell materials at MIT in 2013, he worked with the silicon R&D team at 1366 Technologies Inc., followed by an MIT/Battelle postdoctoral fellowship in solar fuels. He joined the NanoEngineering department at UC San Diego in 2015. He is a recipient of the American Chemical Society’s PRF New Investigator award and was recognized as a 2017 Hellman Fellow. His research is supported by the DOE SunShot Initiative and the California Energy Commission.

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