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World Record for New Efficiency of Organic Solar Modules

The research teams from Nuremberg and Erlangen set a new record for the power conversion efficiency of organic photovoltaic (OPV) modules. The scientists designed an OPV module with an area of ​​26 square centimeters and an efficiency of 12.6%. The previous world record of 9.7% was over 30%.

This is the highest efficiency value ever recorded for organic PV modules. The independent certification laboratory of Fraunhofer ISE (Freiburg) was confirmed in September 2019 by calibration and calibration measurements under standard test conditions. The multi-battery module was developed at the future solar plant in Energie Campus Nürnberg (EnCN), Nuremberg. This is a coating laboratory with a unique megawatt thin film photovoltaic pilot line designed and implemented with funding from the Bavarian Ministry of Economics.

Dr. Andreas Distler (ZAE Bayern) uses organic recording solar modules in future solar plants. In the background, the first wire of the thin film photovoltaic is printed.
Dr. Andreas Distler (ZAE Bayern) uses organic recording solar modules in future solar plants. In the background, the first wire of the thin film photovoltaic is printed.

Hubert Aiwanger, Minister of Economic Affairs, Regional Development and Energy of Bavaria, said: “This breakthrough shows that Bavaria is not only a leader in the development of photovoltaic devices, but also a leader in the development of future technologies. status.”

Organic solar cells typically consist of two organic components with the necessary semiconductor properties. In contrast to conventionally used silicon produced by an energy intensive melting process, the organic material can be applied directly from the solution to a carrier film or glass support.

Measurement of organic recording solar modules is performed by the independent certification laboratory of Fraunhofer ISE (Freiburg)
Measurement of organic recording solar modules is performed by the independent certification laboratory of Fraunhofer ISE (Freiburg)

On the one hand, this reduces manufacturing costs. On the other hand, even if efficiency is not comparable to traditional silicon solar cells, flexible, lightweight materials can be used for new applications, such as mobile devices or apparel.

Professor Christoph Brabec of FAU explained: “This milestone in organic semiconductor research indicates that the latest performance development with certified battery efficiencies exceeding 16% is not limited to the laboratory scale, but can be scaled up to the level of the prototype module.” HI Director of ERN is also the Scientific Director of the Future Solar Plant of the ZAE Bayern Research Group.

Due to its design, the efficiency of a complete photovoltaic module is always slightly lower than the efficiency of a single battery. For example, a portion of a module area is always inactive because it is used for the interconnection of individual units. As the module area increases, the losses caused by the electrode resistance also increase.

The recording module consists of twelve units connected in series with a geometric fill rate of over 95%. This part of the module area actively promotes power generation. In terms of its effective area, the module’s efficiency even reached 13.2%. Inactive areas can be minimized through high-resolution laser structures developed and optimized in the “Future Solar Plant” in recent years.

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