Organic Photovoltaic refers to polymers that are capable of generating electrical power from light. The Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) has allocated 60 million Euros to joint projects involving private enterprises and science.
At the start of the OPV initiative, Dr. Martin Heming, Member of the SCHOTT Corporate Management Committee and Managing Director of SCHOTT Solar GmbH, noted, “OPV still requires an enormous amount of development work. At SCHOTT, we feel that there is a realistic chance that this will lead to new market segments for Photovoltaic. If our joint development efforts are successful in making OPV solutions marketable, entry into industrial manufacturing of OPV components would offer an interesting prospect for the future at SCHOTT Solar,” Today, the mainstream crystalline silicon technology (wafer technology) ranks as the main focus for SCHOTT Solar. The SCHOTT subsidiary with its headquarters in Alzenau, Bavaria, is Europe’s leading integrated manufacturer of wafers, cells and modules. In the future, SCHOTT Solar will also be increasingly relying on thin-film technology. In fact, the company is currently building a manufacturing facility for serial production of thin-film modules that will employ 180 people at its site in Jena.
“Organic Photovoltaic will perhaps one day develop into an interesting complementary technology with respect to the current portfolio at SCHOTT Solar,” Heming adds. To become a sustainable technology in the future, however, the efficiency levels of OPV cells will need to improve substantially, their life spans will have to be prolonged and manufacturing costs will need to decline considerably.
SCHOTT Solar brings more than 40 years of experience in Photovoltaic to the technological initiative, including several years of developing dye-sensitized cells. In addition, the expertise that the SCHOTT Group has in specialized glasses, particularly special flat glasses and flexible thin glasses, but also UV light blocking and hermetic seals, will play an important role.