Researchers from the University of Alberta and the National Institute for Nanotechnology have just published a study and showed a prototype of a very cheap plastic solar cell that lasts for eight months at full operating capacity. The same plastic solar cell had lasted for only ten hours until now.
The technology used to make the plastic solar cell had a chemical leeching problem within the body of the prototype. The unstable chemical coating on an electrode migrated through the rest of the solar cell, making it unusable after only a few hours.
The polymer that the team of scientists, led by David Rider from NINT, has developed, lasts longer than the old coating. Further details have not been revealed, only the fact that the plastic solar cell performed at its peak for 500 hours, and was usable for another seven months. The researchers say that it stopped working when it was damaged during the transport between laboratories.
The market needs cheap solar cells, especially if they’re made of flexible materials, such as plastics. Using petrol to fabricate them gives them a carbon footprint, but it will get compensated by the benefits the solar cells bring to the environment.