Eight19 is developing Printed Plastic Solar Technology to deliver flexible, lightweight, robust and low cost solar cells that can be readily integrated into a wide variety of applications. Printed plastic solar cell technology is ideal for high volume, cost-sensitive solar power applications such as off-grid consumer lighting and battery charging in emerging economies.

Printed Solar Cells - Flexible Solar Plastic SheetEight19 was formed in 2010 as a spin-out from the world renowned Cambridge University in the UK to bring to commercial reality the work developed at the university in plastic solar technologies. The company is focused on the device designs and printing processes that enable solar cells to be made “roll to roll” to create environmentally friendly, low cost, flexible plastic solar modules for high volume markets.

Using solution-based organic chemistry and room temperature printing techniques, printed plastic solar cells can be made on a continuous flexible thin film in a non-stop process. This process has the ability to run at high speed, similar to machines printing newspapers, reducing the manufacturing costs of solar cells to a fraction of existing technologies while correspondingly increasing the volume output.

Eight19 is developing the novel Plastic Solar Module Technology based on organic semiconductor materials. Organic semiconductors originate from abundant and therefore potentially low cost materials. Their strong light absorption (100 times stronger than silicon), the tunability of the absorption spectrum by chemical synthesis and their deposition from solution under ambient condition resulting in an ultra-thin solar absorber makes them a highly promising materials class for large scale electrical solar power generation.The unique properties of organic semiconductors in contrast to inorganic semiconductors like silicon allow for the development of Low cost, Highly flexible and Low weight solar modules. These properties make plastic solar modules the ideal technology for a broad range of future applications ranging from portable consumer products to solar modules laminated to rigid surfaces like glass panes or cladding for buildings.

The power conversion efficiency reported for solar cells based on organic semiconductors already exceeds 8% and has shown a strong increase in recent months and years. This progress is driven by significant development programs within large chemical companies, Universities and Institutes. A similar trend can be expected in solar cell life time. Several years up to several ten years are predicted from accelerated life time measurements. The development activities on the life time improvement of Organic Light Emitting Diodes are already more progressed leading to predicted champion life times of more than 100 years.