Large scale deployment of polymer solar cells on land, on sea and in the air†
With the development of patterns that connect all cells in series, organic photovoltaics have leapt a step forward being ahead of other solar and even other energy technologies in terms of manufacturing speed and energy density. The important questions of how they are meant to be installed for producing power and what the requirements are yet to be explored. We present here the installation of organic solar cell modules in different settings (terrestrial, marine and airborne). For the evaluation of these installations deployed at DTU, we have used the life cycle assessment tools, and calculated key parameters in order to assess their environmental impact. The novel technology when installed in a solar park system can generate more than 1300 kW h kWp−1 of electricity a year, which means that the whole system can pay the energy invested back before the first year of operation, in 320 days. If this electricity is fed back to the same electricity supply system that was used for manufacturing the potential saving of more than 13 GJ of primary energy per kWp per year can be reached. With the real data logged, a dynamic energy payback time has been furthermore calculated for the case of the solar tube installation, giving a value of 1.1 years.