An organic solar cell consists of two semiconducting layers made of plastic polymers and other flexible materials.
Like the silicon solar cell, organic solar cell generates electricity by absorbing particles of light, or photons, according the physical principle known as photovoltaic effect. Although the electricity generation process is very similar for all photovoltaic module technologies, organic photovoltaic (OPV) modules have specific features that make it different OPV from other PV technologies.
OPV modules are lighter and thinner than silicon PV. They can also be printed on different supports and, thanks to their flexibility, can be easily installed on curved surfaces, as well as on surfaces characterized by a rather complex shape.
The overall efficency of OPV cells is still lower than other PV technologies, such as silicon, copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS) and amorphous solar cells. On the other hand, the OPV are able to produce energy even in diffuse light conditions.
At SolarTechLab, some experimental campaigns are underway to characterize the behavior of OPV modules in actual outdoor conditions.
The first measurement campaign concerns the photoactivation process of the OPV modules. More new OPV modules are exposed to the sunlight and the the process that brings to stable IV and PV curves is continuosly monitored.
The second experimental activity in progress concerns the comparison of the perfromances among OPV and other technologies, that is crystalline silicon and CIGS. They are currently investigated in terms of IV and PV curve measured in different irradiation and temperature conditions.
To make the measurement process more robust, fast and reliable, two switchboards that select the PV module under test and configure the test circuit accordingly have been designed and made.