National Science Foundation
High Efficiency Plastic Solar Cell
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Konarka's roll-to-roll, high volume manufacturing process produces thin, flexible solar cells.

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State: Massachusetts

The Konarka solar cell is a lightweight, flexible, cost-effective photovoltaic (PV) cell that efficiently generates electricity from sunlight or indoor room light. These cells are based on dye-sensitized titania nanoparticles which are coated on a flexible substrate at high speed in a continuous coating, laminating process. The overall cell efficiency is raised beyond the current seven percent level to ten percent or higher. These solar cells are lighter weight and more flexible compared to competitive offerings that use amorphous silicon and copper indium gallium sulfide (CIGS) and have excellent stability. The products are particularly suited for portable electronics being flexible, lightweight and low cost due to the materials used, and the high speed roll-to-roll printing, coating and laminating and assembly process that is used.

Solar energy has tremendous potential as an alternate energy source to lessen dependence on foreign oil. However, it has been limited by the inability of its key manufacturers to achieve meaningful breakthroughs in form factor, efficiency and cost. Konarka's unique plastic technology already represents a breakthrough in form factor. Through their National Science Foundation project, Konarka has been focused on surmounting efficiency and cost barriers, with the objective of making PV technology broadly accessible and affordable. Sales to date include purchase of modules and devices for testing by the U.S. Army and Air Force. A manufacturing scale-up partnership has already been formalized to enable efficient commercialization of the PV technology. The initial markets to be targeted are in battery charging, followed by consumer products (lighting, sensors, and communications, computing), building-integrated PV, and eventually embedded PV where PV is integrated into both indoor and outdoor surfaces.

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