Improving Solar Efficiency Using Chilli Spice



Capsaicin, the spicy chemical compound found in chilli peppers may hold the secret to increasing stability and efficiency in perovskite (type of solar) solar cells .

Research conducted by Chinese and Swedish teams has determined that sprinkling capsaicin over the solar cells during the manufacturing process led to an increase in electrons conducting current over the surface of the panel.

The result. The most efficient and sustainable perovskite solar cell to date was created.

Key notes:

  • The chemical compound that makes chilli’s extra spicy, capsaicin, is being used to increase solar performance.
  • The use of a biomaterial such as capsaicin ensures a more sustainable manufacturing process for solar panels.
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red chilliPerovskite Solar Cell V.s Chill Spice | The Results

Using state-of-the-art technology such as ultraviolet photoelectron spectroscopy and time-resolved photoluminescence, the team at East China Normal University conducted a series of tests to prove the qualities of capsaicin.

During experimentation, it was found that solar cells that did not contain the spicy compound performed at 19.1% power conversion while solar cells that did contain capsaicin performed at 21.88% efficiency.

Also, the solar cells that were coated with capsaicin also had improved stability and maintained a 90% efficiency after 800 hours.

Using Chilli Spice To Turn Perovskite Solar Cell Manufacturing Green

Qinye Bao, from East China Normal University explains that “In the future, green and sustainable forest-based biomaterial additive technology will be a clear trend in non-toxic lead-free perovskite materials.”

“We hope this will eventually yield a fully green perovskite solar cell for a clean energy source.”

While metal halide perovskites are effective in the commercial market, faults such as reduced efficiency and heat losses have promoted the Chinese team to seek natural, inexpensive methods to overcome these problems.

“Considering the electric, chemical, optical and stable properties of capsaicin, we preliminarily found that it would be a promising candidate”, says Bao.

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Understanding Batteries

Off-Grid Systems

For some households a battery system can be of great benefit and minimise a home’s reliance on the grid. However, it’s important to understand for a battery to be useful your solar system needs to be generating excess energy for the battery to store, which you can then use at night or when the sun is not out.

When selecting a battery, you’ll want to invest in a system that is most suited to your home and can drive the best return on investment (ROI). Despite a larger upfront cost, a higher quality battery may significantly increase your ROI.

    Battery systems start from $6,000 and costs can vary greatly based on the following factors:

  1. Cycle Life-Time

    The number of times a battery can fully charge and discharge.

  2. Battery Power (kW)

    How fast it can be charged or discharged.

  3. Storage Capacity (kWh)

    The maximum amount of energy a battery system can store.

  4. Battery Management System (BMS)

    An electronic ‘smart’ system that gathers data and manages the battery ensuring it does not overload or operate outside of its safe functioning zone..

  5. Inverter

    Battery systems require their own inverter if your solar system does not have a hybrid inverter.

  6. 'All-In-One Unit’

    A system which includes the battery, BMS and an inverter all in one unit.

  7. Warranty

    Length of time or cycles the battery system is under guarantee.

  8. Blackout Protection/Backup

    It’s important to note this is not a common feature of a battery system and could cost thousands of dollars to include. Blackout protection not only requires additional components but also a specialised installation and rewiring. For grid-connected homes, the cost for blackout protection can outweigh the benefit.

Additionally, if your purpose for adding battery is to go Off-Grid and become completely independent from the grid you will need to ensure your solar system can generate enough energy to power your home and your battery system is large enough to store this energy. For homes in metro areas going Off-grid is not cost effective and is only recommended for those in remote areas with limited access to the grid. Off-grid solar systems with battery start at approximately $30,000.

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