Thursday, July 19, 2007

Plastic Solar Cells

From Chosun and The Hindu:

"Together with Prof. Alan Heeger at the University of California Santa Barbara, we have developed a plastic solar cell with 6.5 percent efficiency. That level of efficiency is sufficiently high for commercial products."

Existing solar cells that use silicon semiconductors cost $2.30 to generate one watt of electricity, which is three to 10 times higher than the production cost of thermal or hydro power. The new plastic solar cell costs just ten cents per watt.

This was possible because South Korean scientists have perfected the use of titanium oxide to make tandem layered solar cells, Lee claimed adding the upper layer absorbs luminous light, while the lower part makes use of the infrared rays.

"We're going to improve the efficiency up to 15 percent, and we're in talks to join hands with domestic electronics companies to market the solar cell by 2012," he said.
$.10 a watt is great and I would think making them out of plastic would lead to greater durability.

Greater efficiency would be better, but what's up with the 2012 release date for a commercial product? Lets get these babies out there now!

Not to be outdone, researchers at New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) have developed an inexpensive solar cell that can be painted or printed on flexible plastic sheets.

via Engadget

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