Friday, September 20, 2013

No. 776: Practical application of an organic thin-film solar cell is scheduled for 2015 (September 21, 2013)

Toray's organic thin-film solar cell
Toray plans to put an organic thin-film solar cell into practical use toward 2015. The organic thin-film solar cell is regarded as the next-generation solar cell because it is thin and bendable. By improving materials of the generating layer, the company developed a technology to lengthen the durability from one year to 10 years. At the same time, it successfully increased the efficiency to convert light into electricity to 10.6 that is the highest level conversion rate for the soft solar cell of this kind.

As organic thin-film solar cells are light and sheet-like, they can be easily incorporated in home electronics and mobile phones not to mention that they can be installed on house walls. Although they can be charged by indoor lighting, they cannot spread easily because their durability is about one year. Toray applied a material of the sulfur system to the generating layer and increased the thickness by three times to 300 nanometers. The new technology avoids leakage and prevents the layers from being destroyed. The production cost of an organic thin-film solar cell is estimated at one third of that of silicone solar cell. The existing off-the-shelf silicone solar cell has about 15% conversion rate from light to electricity, while Toray plans to increase the conversion rate of an organic thin-film solar cell to more than 12% in the near future.    

    Light and bendable solar cell

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