Last week Mitsubishi Chemical Corp. announced the world’s first conversion type organic photovoltaic (OPV).
Sure, it sounds scientific and cool, but why is this significant? Most photovoltaic (PV) cells use silicon and glass, which can be expensive to produce and bulky to install. Mitsubishi’s OPV uses organic compounds applied to a film substrate, so each layer can be “of nanosize thickness, enabling the production of extremely thin, highly flexible and easily bendable photovoltaic cells,” according to a company statement.
The thinness and flexibility could allow OPV cells to be used in a wider range of applications, such as roofing and windows that wouldn’t be able to bear the weight of larger PV cells.
While the conversion efficiency, which is the amount of light that is converted to energy, is currently 8.5 percent, Mitsubishi Chemical plans to increase that to 10 percent by the end of the year and 15 percent by 2015.
15 percent conversion efficiency is the norm for silicon-based cells.