What is the difference between organic vs. conventional solar?
Organic solar is not meant to compete with conventional, silicon based solar. It is intended to take solar technology to the next level.
These are the most significant differences between both technologies:
The core of the technology
- Organic photovoltaics (OPV) uses synthesized carbon-based (organic) material.
- The majority of conventional photovoltaics (PV) uses silicon as semiconductor material.
The manufacturing process
- Heliatek’s OPV is manufactured in a unique compact evaporating roll-to-roll process. This process requires less energy and raw materials.
- Silicon based PV has a highly energy-intensive, large-scale production. The use of silicon means that wafers are first produced from ingots, which are then built into modules. The production is standardized and most products are originating from China.
- OPV enables solar energy on surfaces that were not suitable for conventional solar systems. The unique features enable OPV solutions to access new applications. Even Building Integrated Photovoltaic systems (BIPV) are feasible with the possibility to integrate the technology into building materials.
- The application of conventional PV is limited to either rooftop installations or large-scale PV power plants.
The technology maturity
- OPV technology is at the edge of commercialization, which means there is still a learning curve ahead for efficiency, cost, and durability.
- Conventional silicon based PV has a high level of maturity and is available in standardized products.
The carbon footprint
- OPV is the greenest of all solar technologies with a carbon footprint of less than 10 g CO2e/kWh. It is also amongst the greenest of all energy generation technologies close to hydropower.
- Standard silicon based solar technologies’ carbon footprint varies between 40 – 100 g C02e/kWh, based on their origin country.
The temperature stability
- OPV technology’s performance remains stable over a broad range of hot temperatures.
- Most standard PV technology loses significant performance in hot climates.