Large solar panels were constructed from polymer solar cell modules prepared using full roll-to-roll (R2R) manufacture based on the previously published ProcessOne. The individual flexible polymer solar modules comprising multiple serially connected single cell stripes were joined electrically and laminated between a 4 mm tempered glass window and black Tetlar foil using two sheets of 0.5 mm thick ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA). The panels produced up to 8 W with solar irradiance of ~960 Wm−2, and had outer dimensions of 1 m x 1.7 m with active areas up to 9180 cm2. Panels were mounted on a tracking station and their output was grid connected between testing. Several generations of polymer solar cells and panel constructions were tested in this context to optimize the production of polymer solar panels. Cells lacking a R2R barrier layer were found to degrade due to diffusion of oxygen after less than a month, while R2R encapsulated cells showed around 50% degradation after 6 months but suffered from poor performance due to de-lamination during panel production. A third generation of panels with various barrier layers was produced to optimize the choice of barrier foil and it was found that the inclusion of a thin protective foil between the cell and the barrier foil is critical. The findings provide a preliminary foundation for the production and optimization of large-area polymer solar panels and also enabled a cost analysis of solar panels based on polymer solar cells.
Published in Energy Express, a supplement to Optics Express.
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