MUNICH, Germany When the Large-Area Organic and Printed Electronics Convention (LOPE-C) will take place for the first time in June 2009, organic photovoltaics will be a prominent focus area.
Organic PV experts such as Chris Brabec, Chief Technology Officer of Konarka Technologies (Lowell, USA) expect that in the foreseeable future, this technology could be offered significantly cheaper than any comparable technology. "Organic photovoltaic technology offers the potential to produce at costs below 50 euro cents per watt (peak)", believes Brabec.
According to the Organic Electronics Association (OE-A), roll-to-roll production technologies for organic solar cells are approaching market maturity. The group expects organic solar cells to power mobile consumer devices soon. After this, the next step will be large-scale power generation through organic solar cells on building roofs and glass fronts. The OE-A expects this to happen about 2010; beginning 2015, the energy produced by these solar generators can be fed into the public grid.
However, there are some challenges to be mastered before printed organic solar cells are competitive. Currently, the efficiency of these parts is about 3 percent. Thus, it takes a relatively large area of about 2 square meters to generate enough energy to power a 60 watt desk lamp. Researchers at OE-A cooperation partners IMEC and Plextronics are currently developing solar cells with an efficiency of about 7 percent and a life span of five years. Results can be expected by the year 2012, OE-A said.