Los Angeles, United States [RenewableEnergyWorld.com] Solarmer Energy Inc. has received word that the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has certified its plastic solar panel efficiency at 7.9%. The company started to develop plastic solar panels as part of emerging organic photovoltaic industry in 2006.
In the process of completing their pilot manufacturing line, this efficiency milestone increases anticipation for Solarmer’s plastic solar panels, which will be available next year.
“Breaking the 7% efficiency barrier for organic photovoltaics is a huge accomplishment for Solarmer and the organic photovoltaic (OPV) industry.” said Dr. Gang Li, VP of technology development at Solarmer. “We are thankful for the contributions of our two primary collaborators, Prof. Luping Yu at the University of Chicago and Prof. Yang Yang at UCLA. We believe that our world class team will ensure that we continue along the path to the commercial success of OPVs.”
The company uses low-cost plastic as the active materials to convert solar energy into electricity. The active plastics layer is extremely thin, less than 1/1000 of silicon cell. The company also uses low cost printing techniques to manufacture plastic solar cells.
The combination gives much lower cost of equivalent energy, 10-20% that of silicon technology, and the fabrication process is both low temperature and environmentally friendly, significantly reduces the amount of energy consumption in the manufacturing process, the company said.