NREL Researching Plastic Solar Cells With Solarmer Energy

The U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and Solarmer Energy Inc. have signed a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) to collaborate on improving the life span of plastic solar cells.

The joint research covered by the CRADA will explore the lifetime and stability of the organic photovoltaic (OPV) devices that make up the energy-harvesting layers of plastic solar cells.

Under the terms of the CRADA, NREL researchers will evaluate the lifetime of Solarmer's active-layer systems. They will conduct the tests on NREL's combinatorial degradation system, which compares the performance of up to 360 OPV devices in parallel under simulated solar conditions that accelerate the test results. Optimizing the durability of OPV cells will enhance the technology's commercial future, according to Solarmer.

The project will cover true lifetime results of materials and devices, a comparison of the materials and an examination of degradation mechanisms. Both parties are confident that they also will find better encapsulation and packaging approaches, which will contribute to improving the life span of the plastic solar cells.

SOURCE: Solarmer Energy Inc.

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