Updated assessment of possibilities and limits for solar cells

Pabitra K. Nayak, David Cahen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

100 Scopus citations


The remarkable advances over the past few years in performance of photovoltaic cells, including the advent of new absorber materials, call for an update to the previous assessment of prospects for future progress. The same simple criteria with some refinements, based on cell and module performance data, serve to evaluate and compare most types of solar cells. Apart from Si and InP, for all types the "best cells" have improved in conversion performances (and crystalline Si modules have made major strides in cost reduction). New cell types, such as "perovskite", sustainable chalcogenide, and quantum dot cells, are included. CdTe results bring those cells in line with other well-developed ones, lending some credence to the idea that the criteria provide the reader with knowledge, useful for gauging possible future technological developments. Additionally, the developments of the past few years show that, while the advent of more new cell types cannot be predicted, it can be aided and stimulated by innovative, daring, and creative new materials research. The 2011-2013 period has seen amazing progress of nearly all solar-cell types that have possible or actual practical potential, including significant cost decreases of commercial cells. A concise update of the current status and future prospects of solar-cell research is given.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1622-1628
Number of pages7
JournalAdvanced Materials
Issue number10
StatePublished - 12 Mar 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Shockley-Queisser
  • bandgap state
  • kesterites
  • perovskites
  • photovoltaic


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