As the world progresses, traditional energy generation methods are slowly becoming a thing of the past. Solar energy has become one of the most promising and innovative renewable energy sources. The introduction of organic solar cells in the solar industry has garnered attention due to its potential to absorb more sunlight and their lightweight and flexible structure. This article will examine everything you need to know about organic solar cells.
What are Organic Solar Cells?
Organic solar cells (organic photovoltaic cells (OPV)) are modern solar cells that use a polymer derived from carbon-based materials and organic electronics. This contrasts traditional solar panels that use silicon to absorb sunlight. Carbon-based materials make organic solar cells highly flexible, thin-film, and lightweight. Moreover, organic solar cells have a larger surface area due to the molecular spacing of the material, enabling them to absorb more sunlight and perform better than traditional solar cells.
Working of Organic Solar Cells
Organic solar cells work similarly to traditional solar cells that use polycrystalline and monocrystalline silicon. The photovoltaic effect is the process by which light is converted to electricity at a micro level. Photons, the little packets of energy that compose light, are absorbed by solar cells. These photons hit the electrons in the atoms of the solar cell, making them loose since the solar cell is a semiconducting material. After this, the semiconductor becomes an electron acceptor. The loose electron travels through the solar cell, transferring an electrical current to your home.
Benefits of Organic Solar Cells
There are numerous benefits to using organic solar cells. These cells are lightweight and flexible, making them easy to install on curved surfaces and roofs. The large surface area of organic solar cells enables them to absorb more sunlight efficiently, producing more electricity. Moreover, the molecular structure of organic solar cells makes them durable and resistant to external environmental factors. The use of organic materials in the manufacturing process also makes them cost-effective and environmentally friendly.
The Bad News
Although organic solar cells have promising potential, specific issues must be addressed before they can be considered viable technology. At present, the efficiency of organic solar cells is lower than traditional solar panels, with an efficiency of 8%-12% compared to silicon cells, which can reach 20% – 25% efficiency. Also, organic solar cells have a shorter lifespan due to organic materials, which deteriorate faster when exposed to the environment.
Organic solar cells are still at the preliminary stage of research and development. Although they have great potential, more research is needed to address their limitations, including efficiency and lifespan. While traditional solar panels remain the safest and most viable option for solar energy, the future of solar energy undoubtedly belongs to organic solar cells. As technology advances, we can expect organic solar cells to become a more practical and efficient renewable energy source.