Friday, October 17, 2008
Plastic Solar Cells Move Into Large-Scale Production
From Technology Review:
Mass Production of Plastic Solar Cells
In a significant milestone in the deployment of flexible, printed photovoltaics, Konarka, a solar-cell startup based in Lowell, MA, has opened a commercial-scale factory, with the capacity to produce enough organic solar cells every year to generate one gigawatt of electricity, the equivalent of a large nuclear reactor.
Organic solar cells could cut the cost of solar power by making use of inexpensive organic polymers rather than the expensive crystalline silicon used in most solar cells.
The technology has several drawbacks that will initially limit its applications. The solar cells only last a couple of years, unlike the decades that conventional solar cells last. What's more, the solar cells are relatively inefficient.
Window tinting becomes energy producing.
Because the solar cells can be made transparent, Konarka is also developing a version of its solar cells that could be laminated to windows to generate electricity and serve as a window tinting.
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