Solar PV R&DProject Monash University Polymer PV Study
This report discusses the project results and lessons learnt to date for the Monash University Project, Bringing all-polymer solar cells closer to commercialization.
Polymer solar cells have the potential to contribute to renewable energy generation, being utilised in installations and situations for which conventional silicon solar cells are not suited. In particular their light weight nature, mechanical flexibility, colourfulness and transparency may see them utilised in portable power applications, built-in photovoltaics, and situations where absolute cost of manufacture is the main concern. Limiting the development and commercialization of polymer solar cells is their relatively low efficiency and poor stability. This project seeks to address issues facing the commercialization of solar cells based on blends of semiconducting polymers by developing materials that are stable and that can be manufactured at scale. This project also seeks to employ novel techniques for the rapid screening of new materials foreshortening the development cycle.
This report describes progress and lessons learnt from the first half of the project. Specific outcomes to date include: (i) Study of the stability of common solar polymers revealing dramatic variations in inherent photochemical stability, (ii) Establishment of protocols for the rapid screening of new materials using time-resolved microwave photoconductivity, and (iii) Implementation of a laboratoryscale coating technique that is translatable to the large area and high throughput manufacture of polymer solar cells, ensuring that laboratory-scale efficiencies can be translated to factory-scale manufacture.