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Solar research lab fabricates largest US OPV module

Module represents next step in deploying solar power technology for windows

Module represents next step in developing solar technology for glass windows
Module represents next step in commercialising solar technology that can be applied to glass window

A technology lab has fabricated what it claims is the US’s largest-area organic photovoltaic (OPV) module. The breakthrough development marks the next step in the commercialisation of solar technology that can be applied to glass windows.

Scientists at New Energy Technologies, which develops innovative technologies for generating sustainable electricity, and the US Department of Energy’s solar-photovoltaic research institution, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) have successfully fabricated the 170cm2 working module.

The module is more than 14 times larger than previous OPV devices fabricated at NREL. The institution claims this makes it the largest to ever be produced in the US.

The fabrication marks the next step in technology the team are collaboratively developing, called SolarWindow, which is capable of generating electricity on see-through glass. NREL and New Energy have been working through a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement to advance the Company’s SolarWindow technology for generating electricity on glass windows using a solution-processable coating technique.

Dr David S. Ginley, NREL research fellow and expert in transparent conductors and OPV, said: “The fabrication of a large-area see-through solar module of these dimensions is an important step in New Energy’s SolarWindow ongoing development. We believe that building integrated applications provide a promising avenue for OPV deployment and we are continuing to work with New Energy Technologies to further address scale-up, a key milestone toward developing a deployable technology.”

John A. Conklin, president and CEO of New Energy Technologies, said: “Today’s achievement marks our SolarWindow’s ongoing progress in addressing an important hurdle to commercialisation – scale-up. In 2012, our focus is on aggressively advancing our SolarWindow technology towards commercialisation with larger scale, high-speed manufacturing, higher voltage and bolstered power output, and greater transparency.”