(A free flexible freeOPV) I could see a couple of these on a wing!


The polymer solar cell was envisioned many years ago as a low cost flexible PV technology made using fast printing processes, simple machinery and abundant materials. At the turn of the millennium there was a lot of hope that the vision would become reality and this spawned a massive surge in the scientific literature with ever increasing performance and marvels of processability, yet the polymer solar cell remained elusive and the few examples of available OPV have all been far from representing the vision and promises in terms of cost, abundance and fast processing.

I believe that to be true to the art, the polymer solar cell has to be adherent to the vision and especially it must be made available to anyone interested in it. For this reason my group developed the freeOPV modules that are freely available to anybody with a fundamental, academic or scholar interest. The philosophy and spirit is that it should be free without ties and I encourage students, school children, nerds, gizmos, colleagues, companies etc. to make use of this special offer to study, posses, claim, reverse engineer, copy, and use these OPV modules that have been created to propagate OPV and hopefully enable us to reach the objective of supplying the globe with energy from OPV in the future, OPV that are true to the art and original vision of OPV.


The freeOPV modules are (according to my view) far from the mark when it comes to power conversion efficiency but pretty close when it comes to stability, manufacturing speed, cost and abundance of elements. The aim is thus to supply you with the most recent development and the freeOPV module is thus meant to serve as an available benchmark to everybody and anybody irrespective of their origin or interest. freeOPV is what today can be prepared in huge numbers and large area with consistent performance. freeOPV is to me also an experiment of who is interested, what do the interested person do with it, where does it end up, and how efficiently can it be distributed. The cost of a freeOPV module is very low, in fact shipping is significantly higher in cost than the module itself including all handling and preparation for dispatch. It is my sincere hope that you will help me propagate the polymer solar cell and do feel free to share any results, we have to work together on this and learn from it, I have done the majority of my part and hope that you will take my offer an also honor it with feedback, good or bad, remember I am a scientist and to me any results are of interest regardless of their nature.


So go to this link and claim your freeOPV solar cell module.


Frederik C. Krebs

Views: 2696

Comment by Quadzimodo on March 20, 2014 at 11:30pm

Paul - This is interesting.  I have submitted my order form.

Could you tell me where I might find performance specifications for these cells?

I realise the conversion efficiency is not going to be comparable to conventional crystalline or even amorphic solar cells, but the fact that they are so flexible would perhaps enable a greater proportion of usable wing area (or even fuselage area).  Power to weight (including encapsulation and integration) is also a big factor, and I would be interested to know if this is a strong point of these cells (as they seem to have a very tiny substrate).

The roll-to-roll manufacturing process promises super low cost, and the concept of being able to custom design a pair of solar panels to get 100% cover on a pair of wings, then (then send them off to) print them out, is really exciting.

Comment by K V on March 21, 2014 at 2:49am

Anyone have access to the specs?

Comment by Paul on March 21, 2014 at 3:46am
Comment by Andrew Rabbitt on March 21, 2014 at 4:18am

Could your PV's be printed directly onto a wing mould surface prior to laminating, in the same way high-end composite wings are painted in the mould?

Comment by Chris Paulson on March 21, 2014 at 7:34am

@Andrew -- I assume these cells are roll-to-roll printed, so no. If you built a bespoke inkjet system, perhaps, but its still tricky. However, you could just mould these into the wing. Alta solar claims it's possible to use a clear gelcoat as an encapsulate for their cells (not printed), which were compatible with a composite layup process. Also, OPV isn't great for this application, the power output is an order of magnitude lower than GaAs cells. 

Comment by plasticphotovoltaics on March 21, 2014 at 11:06am

Hej to all, thanks for the big interest in organic solar cell technology. Best wishes from plasticphotovoltaics.org - the Solar Energy group from DTU Energy Conversion (Technical University of Denmark)

Looks like DIY drone/plane pilots look for lightweight solar cells ;-)

As assumed before, yes, our solar cells are fully roll-to-roll printed and coated in ambient conditions with speeds beyond 20 m/min depending on the layer. We don’t use vacuum, sputtering, evaporation, glovebox, or need a cleanroom - „just“ a printing machine for ALL layers and years of experience and research behind.

You can find some recent data of the large-scale processed solar cells in freely accessible publications:

And here we built a complete solar park based on organic solar cells. Even with low efficient cells we showed a very low energy payback time of 180 days.

Satellite view and videos

We also put our solar cells on a balloon ;-)
(unfortunately no open access, but you can see a photo)

Have a look on our YT page and you can see how we print each layer.

Just follow our twitter/facebook site for frequent updates or browse through

We will also start soon a free online course on Organic Solar Cells

P.S. Whenever you read about record efficiencies of organic solar cells beyond 8-10% … they are made under special conditions, have tiny areas and far away from upscaling.

Comment by Merlin on March 22, 2014 at 3:53pm


I don't think it makes much sense to put them onto a plane.

For example for my glider I have 1.8m*15cm area I can cover. The radiation is about 500W/m^2. If you have a efficiency of 10% you get 13.5W. If you power your plane with 3S this is only about 1A less battery drain.

Comment by Jim McCall on March 23, 2014 at 4:11am
I was looking into longer FPV flights using solar energy to charge the batteries inflight. Lightweight solar cells and the solar charger below maybe it might work??

Comment by plasticphotovoltaics on March 24, 2014 at 9:38am

hej, a quick update from our side to show you how robust such a plastic solar cell module is. 

You can laser cut it and it still works. 


Comment by Paul on April 15, 2014 at 5:30pm

Mike this is were you can ask for a free sample and email for more info.



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