Renewable Energy Law
New, Organic Material can be Applied to Building Exteriors to Capture Sunlight Part 2
As a contractor, you know that in order to stay on top of your industry you have to be welcoming of new technologies, especially those that aim to improve sustainability. In part one, the Naples contractor lawyers at Cotney Construction Law introduced a stunning new advancement in solar energy technology: organic solar cells. Researchers believe this technology will allow buildings to collect previously untapped levels of sunlight using an adaptable cell that can be applied to any surface; however, not every aspect of this technology outdoes existing silicon-based solar panels.
Examining the Drawbacks of Organic Solar Cells
Currently, there are a handful of drawbacks associated with organic solar cells, and although “organic photovoltaic technology is considered as one of the key novel ‘green' technologies to overcome using ‘artificial' forms of energy such as fossil fuels and nuclear materials,” it must be utilized correctly to make it a superior alternative to existing technology. Some of the drawbacks of organic solar cells include:
- Organic solar cells are less efficient than traditional, silicon-based solar cells.
- They degenerate more quickly than current solar cells because they are much thinner and use organic molecules that photodegrade over time.
- Finding organic molecules that can operate at a high level throughout every stage of the sunlight-electricity conversion process is a challenge. Therefore, researchers have yet to develop a truly “high-performance” model of organic photovoltaic material.
Electron Donor and Electron Acceptor
Do you know what happens when lights hit an organic photovoltaic material? Typically, it removes electrons from the surface of the cell. This creates pockets of positive charges. When the electrons return to these pockets, any energy left behind is lost. Therefore, researchers must utilize a mixture of what they have keyed “electron donor” and “electron acceptor” molecules. This creates a type of barrier between the positive and negative charges thereby allowing more energy to be utilized for various purposes. In the past, the best acceptors were considered to be “fullerene buckyball derivatives.” However, researchers are now finding that fullerenes are less successful as an acceptor than previously thought, mainly due to their stifled ability to absorb light. As a result, researchers are turning to “non-fullerene” acceptors to get the job done. Researchers have found these non-fullerene acceptors to be more absorptive than their predecessors. They also benefit from being more stable. These molecules are now being integrated into organic photovoltaics.
Soon, consumers will have more options when shopping for solar. Learning to integrate this new technology could prove to be a considerable boon for contractors looking to provide best-in-class products and services for their clients.
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Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.