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Printed organic photovoltaics (OPVs) step out of the lab to prove their suitability for industrial production

OPV module
Feb 10 2020

JRC scientists present the performance data of a large-area printed OPV module under operating conditions representative for real outdoor operation. The results arising from this study add significantly to the OPV technology assessment, suggesting that OPVs could soon offer an advantageous, lightweight alternative to mainstream crystalline silicon–based technologies.

Published in Wiley’s prestigious Progress in Photovoltaics journal, the research paper on Power performance and thermal operation of organic photovoltaic modules in real operating conditions outlines the results of a series of tests on OPV performance carried out by the JRC’s European Solar Test Installation (ESTI).

The study focuses on the analysis of the thermal behaviour of large‐area printed OPV modules in real outdoor conditions, showing how temperature fluctuation due to natural sunlight can affect their performance. For example, the study found that at all irradiances, the power generated by the device increases until reaching a certain temperature and decreases at higher temperatures, an unusual characteristic that seems to be specific to OPV devices.

The rapid evolution of PV technologies calls for innovative approaches to increase the devices efficiency and lifetime. For a reliable technology assessment and a correct evaluation of the potential of new devices, scientists at ESTI carry out performance measurements at standard test conditions (STCs) and in real operating conditions, in compliance with Standard IEC 61853‐1.

This approach not only allows for a comparison between current and new technologies but it is also prerequisite for subsequent energy‐rating studies and energy performance evaluation at different locations and climate conditions, allowing pre-normative comparison of the energy generating potential of these innovative new materials with the mature technologies.

With only a few examples of large‐area OPV modules in the world, ongoing analysis is fundamental to improve their reliability and increase market confidence.