Flexible, Decorative, Recyclable Solar Panels Harvest Energy From Interior Lighting

By: | February 7th, 2015

Image courtesy http://www.vttresearch.com/

Scientists at VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd have developed and utilized a method of printing both decorative graphics and functional components onto flexible organic solar panels.

This innovative process allows collection of energy from interior lighting and sunlight to power small devices and sensors.

Improvement in range of applications: These organic solar panels (OPV, organic photovoltaic) can be placed on the surfaces of interior and exterior surfaces like windows, walls, on machines, devices and advertisement billboards.

More about these OPVs:  These panels are very flexible, light and are just 0.2 mm thick including the electrodes and polymer layers where the light is collected.

The development of these solar cells is done through printing machines using the roll-to-roll method. Production is fast, as up to 100 meters of layered film can be produced per minute. Although the procedure consumes less material and the product is much more affordable and recyclable, the flexible panels are less efficient than rigid silicon-based solar panels.

The feasibility of this method has been checked by printing leaf-shaped photovoltaic cells, where 200 OPV leaves were in one square meter of an active solar panel surface. It helped in generating 3.2 amperes of electricity with 10.4 watts of power at Mediterranean latitudes.

Nidhi Goyal

Nidhi is a gold medalist Post Graduate in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences.

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