One announcement that has been creating quite a buzz at this year’s EU PVSEC exhibition and conference is Konarka’s news that it is venturing down the BIPV route with its organic solar cells. Outlining the company’s strategy during a press conference at the show, company CEO, director and cofounder Howard Berke stated that it was a natural move for the company, whose 1cm2 single-junction OPV cells ('PowerPlastic') have been verified by NREL as having 8.29% efficiency.
Berke’s past education as an architect has led the company down the BIPV route, and together with company CTO James R. Buntaine and Alexander Valenzuela, VP of business development in Europe, Berke introduced the companies that will be assisting in this transition.
Konarka is partnering with Lapp Kabel, ThyssenKrupp Steel Europe and Bischoff Glastechnik as well as the Fraunhofer Institute for Wind Energy and Energy System Technology (IWES). The company claims that its cells’ versatility, relative insensitivity to the angle of light incidence, and customizable voltage render them ideal for both the technical concerns and the aesthetic requirements of large-scale use in building applications. Furthermore, the modules, unlike their c-Si counterparts, become more efficient as they heat up under the sun's rays.
Commenting on the vast range of possibilities for integration of PV applications in the architecture industry, Berke said, “We advertise solar within this building, but there is not a single watt being generated by these glass windows…. I hope that someday we can go back to the Milan Convention Centre [site of the 22nd EU PVSEC in 2007] and retrofit it with transparent electrodes.”