Researchers from the Samuel School of Engineering of the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) developed solar cells using organic components and placed them in greenhouses to demonstrate an example of use in agroelectric power.
As many countries are looking for ways to abandon fossil fuels, solar energy is one of the renewable sources of energy that everyone wants to access. However, the deployment of large solar farms competes with the need to feed the growing population of the planet. That's where the area of agrovoltaics begins.
This method allows double use of existing land and allows you to produce solar energy along with agriculture. This area is still in its infancy, and further innovation is needed to make it popular. One such innovation can be organic solar panels.
A research team led by Jan Jan, a material scholar from the University of California, Los Angeles, turned to organic materials, that is, those that contain carbon as one of the components for the manufacture of solar cells. This method, however, has a drawback in the fact that incident sunlight causes the oxidation of organic components, which leads to their decomposition and a significant decrease in their effectiveness.
Jan and his team turned to the material, L-glutathione, adding a layer to organic solar cells to overcome the harmful effects. The L-glutathione layer prevents oxidation of materials and maintains their efficiency even after 1000 hours of continuous use.
To test their translucent organic solar cells, the researcher used them in prototypes of small greenhouses where they grew crops such as mung beans and broccoli. To demonstrate the effectiveness of the elements, the researchers used a prototype of a control greenhouse that used inorganic or ordinary solar cells. The researchers found that the harvest in a greenhouse with organic solar panels exceeded the crop grown in an ordinary greenhouse.