Researchers from National Research Council (NRC) of Canada in collaboration with Laval University have developed most efficient “inverted” organic photovoltaic (OPV) solar cells. The team claims the power conversion efficiency of these cells are 7.1%. In other words, the cells could convert 7.1 % of incoming solar light into electricity which beats the previous record of 6.9% set by Imec, a Belgian company. Not only the developed OPV cells are efficient but also they have larger active area meaning these cells could be a commercial reality soon. How OPV cells efficiency compare to amorphous silicon solar cells those are available in the market? Well, there is a gap of just over 2% to catch up with silicon solar cells.
“Inverted” OPV has some interesting advantages over its couterpart. It makes the cells more stable, making them less prone to environmental degradation. Also, these OPV cells have the optimum structure for roll-to-roll mass production and can be utilized in applications where the shapes are irregular such as briefcases, backpacks, tents and even a building.
How these solar cells could be made commercial one day?
NRC's solar cells are made of thin layers of plastic or a polymer called poly-carbazole. These polymers are electrically conductive due to its chemical structure. According to the scientists, flexible active layer of these polymers can be "painted" or "printed" onto a thicker plastic backing layer, like an overhead projector transparency that can be rolled or folded like tough and yet light portable road maps. Further Reading:http://www.nrc-cnrc.gc.ca/eng/news/nrc/2012/01/03/opv-cells.html