Energy Environ. Sci., 2014, Accepted Manuscript
Rajan Jose, JB and P. S. Archana in New Orleans
Dye-sensitized solar cells (DSCs) are well researched globally due to their potential to be a low-cost photovoltaic (PV) device, especially suited for application in building and automobile integrated PV (BIPV, AIPV) and portable or indoor light harvesting applications. Large monetary and intellectual investments for developing them into a deployable technology created a wealth of knowledge on nano-interfaces and devices through an increasing numbers of research reports since 1991. In response to those investments, the dawn of the new millennium witnessed the emergence of a corporate sector on DSCs. Advances in their device designs, their incorporation on flexible substrates, development of solid state modules, enhanced stability under outdoor exposure, and the advancements in their scalable fabrication tools and techniques elevated the DSCs from laboratory to real-life applications. Although photoconversion efficiencies are not on par with commercially available CIGS or single crystalline silicon solar cells, the features of transparency, light weight, flexibility, conformability, workability under low-light conditions, and easy integration in buildings as solar windows compel further dwelling in DSC modules. In fact DSC panels have been shown to deliver even more electricity compared to the silicon and the thin film counterparts of similar power rating when exposed to low light operating conditions, due to their workability at such conditions, thereby offering possibilities to be market leaders in BIPV and indoor light harvesting photovoltaic technology. However, the large area dye-solar modules lacks in performance compared to their laboratory scale devices and also suffer from long term stability issues. Herein, we discuss the main factors behind their inferior photovoltaic performance and also identify the opportunities in materials’ architecture and device designs for more efficient DSC modules.