12 October 2005

Cheap, Flexible Solar Cells

Popular Mechanics notes that a Nobel prize winning chemist has come up with solar cells made out of plastic which are cheaper and more rugged than conventional solar cells.

Turning sunlight into electricity is proven technology. We've been doing it for decades. Calculators, street lamps, walkway lights and a host of other niche applications already use solar cells. But, the cost per watt of power generated has always made solar power more expensive than conventional sources of electricity, and the fragility of solar cells has limited the applications where they can be used and kept maintenance costs high.

I suspect that the new cheap cells will be less efficient than conventional photovoltaic cells, and they may not be the magic bullet necessary for solar power to displace a signficant share of the power plants which power the grid now, but they should open up many more applications for solar power than we have now.

1 comment:

Kyle said...

Thanks for posting about this. As a solar cell fan I found this to be interesting work. I started a little research on Heeger and am impressed by the quality and quantity of work he's done in the area of organic electronics.

Good stuff.