Organic Solar Cells and Photovoltaics: Structure, Functions, Price & More
Scientists all around the world are developing new technologies to make efficient use of solar energy. From roof-top solar panels to solar lights, there are numerous devices to help people generate electricity from sun rays.
Organic photovoltaics is the most recent development in this sector. Moreover, these high-potential solar cells are the game-changers in how solar electricity is generated.
Although organic solar cells offer numerous benefits, many people are unaware of this innovative technology. In this blog, you will get familiar with the organic solar photovoltaic cells, their function, pricing, and various aspects of this recent solar technology.
Dive in for details!
What are Organic Photovoltaics Solar Cells?
Organic solar cells use organic electronics and carbon-based materials as semiconductors to generate electricity from solar energy.
They are also referred to as polymer solar cells or plastic solar cells. Although they follow the same process as traditional silicon solar panels for generic electricity, there is one significant difference between the two.
Unlike silicon solar panels, organic photovoltaics have a flexible structure. Therefore, they can easily fit multiple spaces and are also suitable for making solar power windows.
Although this new technology requires more research and development, the wide range of applications is increasing its popularity and reliability already.
Moreover, organic solar cells are less costly to produce. It means that more people will be able to install them without worrying about their budget.
Structure of Organic Photovoltaics Solar Cells
OPV or organic photovoltaics have a flexible structure due to carbon-rich compounds. As a result, they enhance PV cell functions like bandgap, colour, and transparency.
To create an OPV structure, organic compounds that easily dissolve in ink are printed on thin plastic layers.
These solar power generic cells are relatively less efficient and durable than conventional solar panels. However, they are less expensive too. It certainly results in their high production volume.
In addition, the plastic-based material of the OPV is easily applicable to a variety of surfaces and areas.
How do Organic Photovoltaics Solar Cells Function?
The function of organic photovoltaics is similar to polycrystalline and monocrystalline silicon solar cells.
They generate solar electricity with the photovoltaic effect. It means, they directly convert the sun’s rays into electricity at the atomic level.
- In the first step of the photovoltaic effect, the organic solar cells absorb sunlight in the form of energy known as photons.
- The cells then break the photons to loosen electrons.
- These free electrons flow to electron acceptors to create a direct current.
- The electrical current then transfers to the solar inverter.
- The solar inverter converts DC power into AC power for residential usage.
Different Types of Organic Photovoltaic Solar Cells Available in the Market
Polymer-based organic solar cells are categorised into three groups according to their production method. Have a look!
- Single-layer organic cells: In this type, the external circuit connects to two electrodes through a conductor. The difference in the functions creates an electrical field in the layers of the organic cells.
- Bilayer organic cells: This type of organic photovoltaics consists of multiple layers of cathode, acceptor, ITO, donor, and substrate. Bilayer organic solar cells split excitons for increased efficiency.
- Bulk heterojunction organic cells: In this type of organic solar cell, there are two transparent electrodes and one active layer to trap the solar energy.
Power Generation From Organic Photovoltaics Cells
OPV and PV follow a similar process of power generation. However, the low efficiency of OPV results in less power generation due to insufficient absorption of sun rays.
Nonetheless, they’re cheaper than other conventional solar cells. Hence, there’s definite future scope.
What is the Pricing of Organic Photovoltaic Solar Cells?
Organic photovoltaics technology is a revolutionary development in the sector of solar power generation.
The OPV harnesses solar energy to domestic power establishments at a highly affordable price. Although this technology is new and requires extensive research for development, the average cost of organic solar cells varies between INR 2,485/m2 to INR 7,456/m2.
Pros and Cons of Organic Photovoltaics Solar Cells
Organic photovoltaics offer the following benefits:
- The soluble organic molecules of organic solar cells facilitate an easy and less costly manufacturing process.
- The organic solar cells have adaptive and flexible structures, resulting in a large area of application. Moreover, these lightweight structures are appropriate for use in windows and doors that receive abundant sunlight.
- Manufacturers have a vast supply of building block materials for organic photovoltaics.
Cons of Organic solar cells:
- The efficiency of organic photovoltaics is comparatively lower than a conventional silicon solar cell. Generally, silicon solar cells offer 18-20% efficiency in the conversion of sun rays into usable electricity. On the other hand, an organic cell’s efficiency is estimated at around 8-12%.
- The organic materials of OPV degrade much faster than silicon. Therefore, OPVs are a little less durable.
Why Isn’t Solar Energy More Popular?
Sun offers a sustainable source of energy to every part of the world. However, solar energy is not as widespread a process of generating electricity as it should be.
The following factors play a vital role in limiting the use of organic photovoltaics and PV system for solar power generation:
- Solar panels require a huge investment. Therefore, many economically backward groups find difficulty in investing in solar panels.
- The efficiency of organic photovoltaics is low. People need to install multiple organic solar panels to generate sufficient units of electricity. This requires enormous space.
- The generation of solar power directly depends upon the availability of bright sunlight. Conditions like storms and clouds can rob people’s access to continual electricity from the Sun.
That being said, applying for a solar subsidy provided by the government and EMI solutions provided by solar companies can nullify the financial constraints.
Organic photovoltaics is a promising system for generating sustainable energy. Many researchers are developing new ways to increase its efficiency.
It is highly expected that in the coming days, this technology will gain popularity.
Moreover, the abundant material availability of organic photovoltaics makes it affordable. Almost everyone will be able to harness the benefits of sunlight to fulfil their daily power requirement.
Q. How long do organic photovoltaics Solar Cells last?
Organic photovoltaics solar cells generally show less than 30% degradation in two months when exposed to harsh climatic conditions.
However, multiple searches are underway to increase the durability of these organic cells.
Q. What leads to the low efficiency of organic solar cells?
Organic cells are highly prone to recombination due to the increased attraction between carbon-based materials and electrons. This results in low efficiency of the organic solar compounds.
Q. What is the meaning of efficiency in organic photovoltaics?
The efficiency of solar cells means the amount of solar energy they can convert into usable electricity.
Therefore, an 8% efficiency means that the solar panel can convert 8% of the total sunlight it receives into an electric current.