Polymer Solar Cells

Solar cells made from polymer materials and technologies

The Polymer Solar Cells program, led by Prof David Officer (University of Wollongong), is developing materials and technologies for the production of commercially viable flexible solar cells. These improved materials and technologies will not only provide long term protection against the ingress of water and oxygen, and the harsh Australian environment, for the current generation of flexible solar cells, but will also be used for the development of a next generation commercially viable low-cost polymer-based solar cell. Two product related outputs are described below.

A manufacturing process for producing flexible polymer-based dye sensitised solar cells (DSSC)

The targeted output from this project is a commercially viable low-cost process for the production of polymer-based solar cells where a highly conductive, metal foil-polymer film laminate electrode, developed by the CRC-P, has the competitive advantage of allowing production of low-cost, large surface area solar cells. The incorporation of a fusion of the best materials and technologies into the resulting prototype cell is being undertaken for cost-effective production and high device efficiency.

Polymer film-based encapsulants for use in steel-roof-integrated polymer solar cells

Polymer film-based composite structures and sealants, with exceptional water and oxygen barrier properties, and extreme resistance to photochemical and thermal degradation, are under development for the encapsulation and protection of flexible solar cells. Such encapsulants are necessary to protect solar cells from the ingress of water and oxygen, and allow them to continue to operate efficiently for at least 20 years in the harsh Australian climate. Research includes tailoring the structure of polymers and polymer films to provide the required barrier and sealant properties, and controlling chemistry to allow the deposition of barrier layers.

For further information about the Polymer Solar Cells program and any of its projects, please contact Program Leader Prof David Officer.