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Solarmer's Organic Plastic PV Cell is Advancing by Leaps and Bounds

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posted on Dec, 3 2009 @ 01:50 PM

Solarmer Energy Inc. is a developer of transparent, flexible plastic solar panels, the next wave in generating renewable energy from the sun. These solar panels are opening the door for a wide range of new application areas in renewable energy, which are not currently addressable with conventional silicon solar panel technology. Our company's solar panels have the potential to reduce the cost of renewable energy down to 12-15 cents/kWh and less than $1/Watt, which means plastic solar panels will be the first in solar capable of generating electricity on par with conventional fuel costs.

Solarmer was founded in 2006 to commercialize this technology, which was developed by Professor Yang Yang at the California NanoSystems Institute at UCLA. The company has licensed this technology from UCLA and additional technology developed by Professor Luping Yu at the University of Chicago. These plastic solar panels, made from very thin layers of plastics and other materials, convert solar energy into electricity in a very cost-effective way.
Link to Solarmer

The Californian startup Solarmer has been making good progress with its plastic organic PV in the past few years. It hit 6% efficiency in 2007, 7.6% a few months ago, and they've now broken their own record with 7.9% (a number that has been certified by the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory). This technology has the potential of bringing the cost of solar energy down, and also to allow us to put solar panels in all kinds of places.

First, low-cost plastic is used as the active materials to convert solar energy into electricity. Thanks to the extraordinary light absorption capability of the plastics, the active plastics layer is extremely thin - only a few tenth of micrometer thick, i.e. less than 1/1000 of silicon cell. This material cost is significantly lower.

Second, very low cost printing techniques can and will be used to manufacture plastic solar cells (just thinking of the newspaper). The combination gives much lower cost of equivalent energy (only ~10 - 20% that of silicon technology). In addition, the fabrication process is both low temperature and environmentally friendly, significantly reduces the amount of energy consumption in the manufacturing process.
Link to Story

Excellent. Just one more example of how the alternative energy market is maturing. We are finally seeing advancements in output, materials, availability, and market growth.

The alternative energy market is not simply about protecting the environment, it is also about advancing human technology and expanding our capabilities.

These organic plastic solar cells are a perfect example of both these ideals, environmental and human advancement.

Cool stuff.

[edit on 3-12-2009 by Animal]

posted on Dec, 3 2009 @ 02:19 PM
reply to post by Animal

7.9% efficiency isn't all that great, unless these solar panels are really that cheap, then it wouldn't matter as you could just buy more of them.

The best commercial solar panels are over 20% efficient at the moment...

posted on Dec, 5 2009 @ 08:00 PM
reply to post by MegaCurious

That was kind of the point of all the articles. The cells are ridiculously cheap to make compared to silicon cells. For most applications, it doesn't matter if your cells are 20% efficient, if you can buy 10 times as many that are 6% efficient. We're not running out of rooftops yet, after all.

posted on Dec, 5 2009 @ 09:07 PM
Yes...corporations can't wait until people have their own source of energy, on their roofs. So that they don't have to pay to the corporations, and so that they don't even have to work so hard (for corporations) in order to pay the bills.
Corporations are just for the benefit of people. Always have been, always will be.

posted on Dec, 5 2009 @ 09:24 PM

these guys are doing something similar...

Lets just hope they succeed..

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