Organic photovoltaics (OPV) are considered the low-cost technology of the future. Simply put, to manufacture organic solar cells, normal printing machines can print the substances onto a low-cost carrier material, much like colors are printed on a large roll of paper. The result is large, flexible solar cells with very low coating weight per unit area.
These solar cells have only five to seven percent efficiency, which is admittedly too low to produce electricity on a gigawatt scale. In comparison, rigid silicon solar cells have an efficiency of more than 20 percent.
However, OPV film on clothing to charge cell phones is already a reality. As it becomes more efficient, this technology will revolutionize the photovoltaics market.
Heraeus is developing infrared emitters for drying and sintering flexible solar cells. Clevios products in the form of conductive polymers also play an important role in this innovative technology.