Konarka Technologies, Inc. has had the National Energy Renewable Laboratory (NREL) verify that the material class in its collection of flexible organic-based PV solar cells demonstrated a 6% efficiency performance. Dr. Alan Heeger (pictured) from the University of California, Santa Barbara and Chief Scientist at Konarka carried out the results under the Sustainable Development Technology Canada program (SDTC), which provides funding to partners Université Laval (Quebec), the National Research Council of Canada (Ottawa) and Saint Jean Photochimie (Saint Jean, Quebec) for the advancement of low cost printable organic solar cells.
“Achieving the power conversion efficiency of 6% for this relatively young material class is an important milestone,” commented Dr. Alan Heeger who is also one of Konarka’s co-founder and was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2000. “This progress gives us confidence that we are on a technology pathway toward the vision of high efficiency, low cost ‘plastic’ solar cells. Increasing the efficiency and performance of organic based photovoltaic (PV) solar cells at this rate is bringing us closer to making solar electricity from photovoltaics cost-competitive with conventional forms of electricity.”
Konarka has been working with the Université Laval, the National Research Council of Canada and Saint Jean Photochimie for the past four years and only just recently obtained the exclusive license for a new family of photoactive polymers, which were originally conceived by Professor Mario Leclerc, Director of Macromolecular Science and Engineering Research Center of Université Laval (CERSIM) and Director of the Quebec Center on Functional Materials (CQMF) and mutually developed for solar cell application by the SDTC consortium. Heeger incorporated the material into his cell structure and has furthered its performance.