One Step Closer to Organic PV

by Briton Lee

Recently, researchers were able to produce organic photovoltaic (OPV) cells in a way that can be scalable to an industrial level. One of the barriers facing the widespread adoption of solar power is the cost-prohibitive nature of its production. Additionally, the conditions used to create inorganic solar panels, such as crystalline silicon are harsh; for instance, they must be produced at very energy-intensive high temperatures. Organic solar cells are being explored precisely because the organic materials characteristic of the product have a low production cost, with the added benefit of being flexible. Some of the drawbacks of organic solar cells are that they are not as durable as inorganic solar cells, and have a lower conversion efficiency. These drawbacks are attenuated by the potential of both scaling up the efficiency of the cells and robust mass production of organic solar cells with minimal resource input. While it may have a relatively low conversion efficiency, we have to take into account the amount of energy it can potentially create relative to the energy input; the net return on energy is substantial. Continue reading