Thin film solar startup Konarka partners with German researchers to extend life of solar cells

December 03 2008 / by Garry Golden
Category: Energy   Year: 2018   Rating: 1

Konarka thin film solar

It's hard not to get excited about Thin-film solar technology! 

You can produce flexible and durable rolls of plastic solar material off 'printing' machines at a fraction of the cost of glass solar panels.  Thin film panels are cheap and efficient enough to make sense in building materials (e.g. rooftops) or in product casings. 

The industry is global and commercial scale production plants are popping up around the world.  No one region or company is likely to dominate this new part of the energy industry.

What's the problem with thin film solar?
Short lifespan of the solar material.  Sunlight can actually destroy the compounds the convert photons into electrical energy.

Konarka Technologies tries to improve 'organic solar stability'

There are a number of innovative startups in the thin-film solar industry worth noting.  But US-based KonarkaTechnologies is widely considered to be a rising star in the field of organic (carbon) solar technology. Earlier this year, it announced the opening of the world's first 1 Gigawatt scale production plant and its Power Plastic (TM) technology platform appears to be ready for growth.

But if Konarka hopes to remain a powerful player in this emerging industry, it must continue to advance basic science that can sustain this new low cost form of solar energy long into the future.

Yesterday Konarka announced a partnership with German research institutions to address the most fundamental problem with thin film solar - degradation of the material.  The goal of the BMBF Stability Project is to increase the lifespan of organic solar cells (OSC) by combining high-quality encapsulation techniques with photoactive materials.

The BMBF Efficiency Project is expected to yield solar cells that are optimized for specific applications with efficiencies of more than 10% and are highly competitive with other photovoltaic (PV) technologies.

Konarka Press Release

Image Credit - Konarka Power Plastic

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