A new roll-to-roll printing system that eliminates steps in the manufacture of plastic solar cells may increase production speed and reduce cost. Polymer photovoltaics aren’t as efficient as silicon ones, but they are lightweight and cheap, making them desirable for portable electronics. Plastic solar cells can be easily integrated into building materials and smart fabrics.
University of Michigan researchers are working to boost the efficiency plastic solar cells from the current rate of only about 3.5 percent to 12 to 15 percent to make them competitive with silicon and thin-film cells.
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