Danish researchers have connected a polymer solar cell plant to an electrical grid in a successful world-first demonstration of how the promising renewable energy technology can be integrated into power systems.
Risø's solar energy programme has been conducting research into polymer solar cells, a cheap alternative to existing silicon-based solar cells. Research is now at such an advanced stage that a demonstration plant has been built at Risø DTU.
From the beginning Risø's research into solar cells based on polymer materials has had a strong focus on production, demonstration and application. As part of an experiment made in cooperation with the companies Mekoprint A/S and Gaia Solar A/S the polymer solar cells have now been connected to the grid at Risø.
"The demonstration is an excellent example of how cooperation between research and industry promotes technology development and creates the initial basis for implementing new technology in society," says Henrik Bindslev, Director of Risø DTU.
The polymer solar cells for the solar cell plant have been produced in collaboration with Mekoprint A/S, who specializes in "roll to roll" production of flex-print and printed electronics.
After the production of the solar cells - and in collaboration with Gaia Solar A/S - Risø DTU has manufactured large panels upon which the solar cells are mounted. Gaia Solar A / S specializes in module construction of silicon solar cell panels and has built Risø's polymer solar cells into their design. The panel is placed on a tracker which follows the movement of the sun. The generated power is added to the grid.
Already in June 2008, Risø presented the polymer solar cells at the Roskilde Festival in cooperation with Mekoprint A / S. At that time the price was 4.500 € / W, but a huge effort made the price go down to 22 € / W in January 2009 and further down to 15 € / W in March 2009. At the end of 2009 the price is expected to be 4-5 € / W.
Collaboration with the industry seeks to promote the industrialization of polymer solar cells in Denmark and if this succeeds, polymer solar cells can become a ground-breaking energy technology to be used in Denmark and also for export. With such a goal-oriented effort polymer solar cells can become another Danish sustainable energy technology with tremendous export potential.
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