Entering full force into the era of renewable energy sources, the generation of electricity from Solar energy is the fastest-growing energy source. From monocrystalline and polycrystalline to thin-film TF solar cells, the push for sustainability and renewability is -and already has- played a vital role in the improvement of development, aesthetics, and performance of solar cells – making the demand for photovoltaics innovation more desirable than ever before.

Several factors come into play that contribute to the evolutionary blend of photovoltaics and green technology in next-generation devices. However, the pioneering implementations that have and will continue to demonstrate the most impacts across the development pipeline are none other than the introduction of Roll-to-Roll (R2R) and Roll-to-Plate (R2P) processes.

Image credit: Pexels – Mikhail Nilov

R2R and R2P in Green Technology – Concentrator Photovoltaics

In recent years, there has been highly measurable progress in developing organic solar cells and concentrator photovoltaics, a photovoltaic technology that generates electricity from sunlight using curved mirrors or lenses to focus the light. This progression stems from their features, such as mechanical flexibility, low weight, low cost, and ease of integration, making them appealing across the solar energy market. Of course, this outcome is based on the use of R2R and R2P because the nanoscale grating structures are replicated in flexible polyethene terephthalate substrates via R2R/R2P nanoimprint and then integrated into organic photovoltaics devices.

Why? Because the nanostructures have been proven to improve the light absorption; organic photovoltaics have been documented to reach power conversion efficiencies of 18.07% and are expected to quickly climb well-past conventional silicon-based cells. But the industry must rely on R2R and R2P processes for mass-scale production of such nanostructures.

R2R and R2P are reputable for supporting mass production while reducing production costs, making them a promising link to the fruitful future of green technology, solar cell technology, and photovoltaics.

Organic Solar Cells vs Silicon Solar Cells

Green technology and the pursuit of organic solar cells is a notion that will support environmental initiatives that can be valued generationally for their role in health, sustainability, and ever-increasing solar efficiency.

Solar cell technology has the core objective of converting the sun’s light into energy. The primary disadvantage of organic photovoltaic cells is low efficiency, stability and strength compared to inorganic photovoltaic cells such as those made from silicon. However, the molecules used in organic solar cells are solution-processable at high throughput and are inexpensive, resulting in low production costs. When using methods such as R2R or R2P to optimise mass production for commercial use, the flexibility of organic molecules makes organic solar cells the most cost-effective alternative. This option will enable society to take advantage of solar cell technology while supporting the bigger picture of sustainability – a movement that has grown in the last decade and will likely remain a top priority on a global scale.

Summary – The Green Future Lies With R2R and R2P

To date, the push for green technology is prevalent, and Stensborg has revolved its entire mission to enable eco-focused solar cell technology in the progressive energy market. Some of those distinctive ways include inked-deal collaborations like developing the new NIL inkjet technology with a top globally operating brand for university and research, partnering with Australian Vacuum Services to continue nanotechnology innovations in Australia, and creating the patented Desktop R2P NanoImprinter to streamline and accelerate nanoimprint lithography development.

In summary, R2R and R2P have proven effective avenues to make solar cell technology much more abundant and cost-friendly. And with society still pushing for greener living across every sector, the future of R2R and R2P in photovoltaics has already been a promising gateway for green innovation advancements that manufacturers, researchers, and end-users can collectively gain from.