Perovskite solar cells are cheap, easy to produce and are so flexible that they can even be sprayed or painted on surfaces, according to New Atlas writer Eric Mack. Now, a team at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) in Sydney, Australia claims to have achieved a 12.1% energy conversion efficiency rating for a 2.5-square-inch perovskite solar cell, which is at least 10 times the size of current certified high-efficiency perovskite cells.

"Perovskites came out of nowhere in 2009, with an efficiency rating of 3.8 percent, and have since grown in leaps and bounds," said Anita Ho-Baillie, a Senior Research Fellow at the UNSW's Australian Centre for Advanced Photovoltaics. "I think we can get to 24 percent within a year or so."

The solar cells are made from crystals grown into a particular structure called perovskite. Smooth layers of perovskite with large crystal grain sizes allow the cells to absorb more light. The technology has been advancing fast and attracting plenty of attention thanks to its ease of production and low cost compared to silicon cells. "The diversity of chemical compositions also allows cells be transparent, or made of different colors," said Ho-Baillie. "Imagine being able to cover every surface of buildings, devices and cars with solar cells."

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