Organic Photovoltaics (OPV) isn’t just a technology of the 3rd generation of PV - it is also a WOW technology with unique features, offering unlimited freedom of design.
Multifold integration possibilities can be explored, whether inlay in glass, lamination on different materials or direct integration in products.
From the outer to the inner values: Different unique shapes and looks according to your design match electric customization.
Offering increased production efficiency by low energy consumption during production and short energetic payback time combined with low to no use of rare materials. Further our OPV is proven to be sustainable in terms of carbon footprint as well as end-of-life treatments.
The photovoltaic active base material manufactured by BELECTRIC OVP under the name 'Solarte' is characterized by freedom of design, shape, and material. It is ideally suited for simple integration into applications and products.
In the printed OPV modules, energy is generated by organic carbon-based semiconductors under the influence of light. The solar panels are manufactured according to a cost-efficient printing procedure.
The flexible photovoltaics of the ‘Solarte’ series present completely new possibilities for the integration of energetically active components into architecture and product design.
The range of application options could not be more diverse: The spectrum ranges from energy production for lighting objects, transparent and colored accessories for sport, leisure, and fashion, through to attractive PV surfaces to match the design, or inlays for product integration into all kinds of mobile and stationary applications. Furthermore, the new range also includes products that focus on the architecture sector and offer unprecedented possibilities for energy harvesting in façade design and urban furnishings.
Alongside the new 'Solarte' range, BELECTRIC OPV is also further developing the 'Power Plastic' product line, which is primarily aimed at large-scale industrial applications.
by Claus Rendler
Commissioned in 2012, this system, based on flexible, organic photovoltaic elements, shows a stable energy yield, verifying the suitability of the BELECTRIC OPV printed OPV technology for grid-connected operation.
Frankfurt, Nuremberg and Darmstadt - In 2012, the world's first grid-connected OPV (organic photovoltaic) system was commissioned at Mainova AG in Frankfurt. This system is not only the first ever grid-connected OPV system, but also the one longest in operation. Since 2012, nine flexible and transparent OPV modules in the form of a sun sail, with a total capacity of 0.2 kW, have graced a building on the energy provider's premises. The defined objective of the installation at that time was to provide answers with regard to various aspects: to tap into the potential benefits of OPV in the area of static and mechanical integration, to examine the characteristics of OPV in power supply operation and, finally, to verify stability during continuous operation.
During the planning and installation phase, answers relating to some of the areas in question were already found: it became evident that, due to the low weight of the OPV modules in conjunction with mounting in a higher position, a significant reduction in costs for the static strengthening of the logo tower could be achieved. In addition, the installation of the modules proved to be simple and straightforward, which, last but not least, was confirmed by the BELECTRIC OPV follow-up projects. After four years of operation, the electrical data of the system was also subjected to detailed inspection: This system, with a nominal output amounting to 0.2 kW (before system losses), is mounted vertically and aligned to the south. In order to evaluate the recorded yield data, a commercial PV simulation software (PVSYST) was used to image the system and the characteristics of the OPV modules (good low light response, large angular range, positive temperature coefficient, etc.). With the help of historical weather data, the expected yields over the current system running time were simulated and compared with the actual measured yield data (AC side). This shows that, since commissioning, the system has achieved an additional yield of 7% compared to the simulation, whereby, in the simulation, an annual degradation of 0% / year was adopted. Accordingly, after four years of operation, the OPV system has achieved an even higher yield than was to be expected given the installed nominal output.
After this period, it is also important to observe a further parameter which receives less attention in classical photovoltaics: what is known as EPBT (energy payback time), the period of operation which is necessary to produce the amount of energy that was previously consumed for the production of the modules and the materials used. With traditional photovoltaic modules, it can be assumed that an overall energy balance has been reached after two to four years, generally speaking. In contrast, the OPV system at Mainova has been producing a surplus for more than three years, due to the short EPBT of only 10 months (for the current location).
"Four years trouble-free operation, with no apparent degradation, a higher energy yield than expected and Mainova a satisfied partner, are confirmation of our good work. Finally, the system was built to the 2012 level of technology. Since then we have made great progress in terms of performance and integration. With our current possibilities, such a project would look different, even better, and achieve higher yields. With the knowledge that OPV technology development is continuing to advance, we are in a good position to meet the future" adds Hermann Issa, Director of Business Development and Marketing at BELECTRIC OPV.
The increase in output of the current generation of OPV materials does not however negatively affect other parameters. In this connection, Merck KGaA and the BELECTRIC OPV GmbH, strategic partners in the field of material development, will jointly present results from high performance OPV materials at the 9th ISOS Conference in October 2016 in Freiburg. The results show that also these OPV materials, with their significantly increased energy yield, are at least as stable as their predecessors.
“For us this is a very important result“ said Richard Harding, Global Head of Business Development – Photovoltaics, at Merck Performance Materials. “For very young and disruptive technologies like OPV it is naturally difficult to demonstrate long term performance with real-time data, and we have so far had to rely on accelerated life-time tests. We are very happy to see the good lab results being realized so well in real-life applications, further underlining the potential of OPV as next generation PV technology.”
Lapp and BELECTRIC OPV conclude strategic partnership
Stuttgart|Nuremberg 12th of September 2016 – The Lapp Group, a leading manufacturer of connection solutions, and BELECTRIC OPV, the market leader in organic photovoltaics (OPV), have concluded an agreement establishing a close partnership. Georg Stawowy, Member of the Board for Technology and Innovation at Lapp Holding AG, and Dr. Ralph Pätzold, CEO of BELECTRIC OPV, signed the contract at BELECTRIC OPV's production site in Kitzingen. The two companies will jointly develop new technologies for connection and cabling of flexible organic photovoltaic modules. The aim is to create a solution that is more versatile and suitable for any film materials. In addition, Module Access Points (MAP) - the contact point between the film and cable - are to be made more compact. This is important to integrate the OPV laminates unobtrusively into building façades, where they generate clean sun power. This will give designers and architects the greatest design freedom possible. "Development is already underway and should be completed with a product ready for series production in 2017", Reinhard Probst said, Market Manager Solar at the Lapp Group.
Long-standing partnership – The collaboration is nothing new for Lapp and BELECTRIC OPV, merely a continuation of a long-standing partnership. Lapp developed a MAP for BELECTRIC OPV, which was used in the solar modules for the German pavilion at Expo 2015 in Milan. The solar sculptures reached up to the sky like giant ferns, with the power fed into the cable through almost invisible connection points, which looked like fine tree branches on the leaves.
More flexible process planned – The process developed by Lapp is a big advance in the use of organic photovoltaics. The connection points in the Milan pavilion are exceptionally compact and waterproof. These properties are also saved for the new solution, but it will be significantly more flexible in terms of choice of material and thickness of the carrier film. It will also be possible to attach the connection point regardless of where the modules are produced, guaranteeing high flexibility in production.
Patented technology – The partners remain tight-lipped about how the whole thing will work in detail until the patent process has been initiated. The two companies want to maintain exclusive rights to this technology for a specified period. During this time, BELECTRIC OPV will obtain the MAPs from Lapp and Lapp will supply these products exclusively to BELECTRIC OPV. "We've known each other for a long time and have a great deal of trust in one another. At the Lapp Group we believe that organic photovoltaics is a future technology with huge potential", Georg Stawowy said. "The strategic partnership therefore was the next logical step."
"With this strategic cooperation with Lapp, we are consistently continuing on the path of industrialising organic photovoltaics", Ralph Pätzold added. "OPV cannot be compared to conventional PV technologies that are primarily defined by the modular concept. Therefore, and to fully tap into the uniqueness of OPV for customers, we are constantly focusing on the final overall system, which also includes the electrical system components. With Lapp we have a strong partner on our side with whom we want to further develop these components."
Further projects planned – The Lapp Group and BELECTRIC OPV are already planning further projects making use of the new process. One idea is to utilise existing surfaces better. "Thanks to the new system technology we can provide architects with a connection system that can be visually integrated into the overall look of a building, emphasising the key aesthetic advantages of OPV integration", Hermann Issa said, Director of Business Development at BELECTRIC OPV. As well as integration into buildings, surfaces can be used that were never previously a focus - for example roofs, which could not be used in the past for static reasons. "Of course, this system is much lighter and its shape and, to some extent, colour can easily be adapted to the building or the surroundings", Reinhard Probst said.
Vic-Montaner and Pau, France and Nuremburg, Germany: Having a superior design while retaining good functionality is visible trend in many industries. However, over the last decade the conventional photovoltaic market has been rushing in a different direction, often ignoring design and aesthetics, leading to photovoltaic installations are either debatable in look or excluded from use in rural and inner-city environments alike. In a complete reversal, as a major step-change in technology, based on tried-and-tested installations at the German Pavilion, EXPO 2015 in Milan, and at the African Union’s building for “Security and Peace” in Addis Ababa, BELECTRIC OPV and its partners, the Communauté des Communes de Vic-Montaner (CCVM), Axess Tech, and the Institut des Sciences Analytiques et de Physico-chimie pour l’Environnement et les Matériaux (IPREM), are proving that things can be done differently: photovoltaics performing as multi-functional components in new buildings and renovations while respectfully adapting to the needs of local aesthetics. The installations will show that OPV can play an important role in delivering safe and reliable clean energy, as well as providing a protective and educative role in supporting our communities and daily lives.
The CCVM is convinced that OPV can be integrated harmoniously and respectfully into the public environment, producing renewable energy and offering shade from sun, rain and hail, in community-scale installations, making it a perfect fit to the weather conditions in south-west France. The CCVM is teaming up with local partners to explore the creation of local industries to deploy these new OPVs in a style that confirms and integrates seamlessly with local needs. The teaming process was led by the IPREM, an institute run by the CNRS and the Université de Pau et des Pays de l’Adour, and involved in OPV research and development, and well placed through its coordination of European networks to access the right partners for this action. Axess tech will play a key role in ensuring the link between Belectric OPV and local artisans by providing advice and technical knowledge, facilitating a transfer of this advanced technology in conformity with French regulations. For OPV components and systems technologies, this group of partners is now joining forces with BELECTRIC OPV, the market leader for OPV projects.
Four initial projects in the communities of: Andrest, Pujo, Sedze-Maubecq, and Vic-en Bigorre are planned. Once feed-back from these communities has been made, follow-up projects in Ponson-Debats-Pouts, Pontiacq-Viellepinte and other villages will be carried out. The range of the projects, from shaded walkways, church-yards, and public shopping malls, will demonstrate the way in which OPV can adapt to local aesthetics and needs. All the projects, despite their being commercial in nature, will be used to train local partners in the deployment of OPV in integrated projects, setting the base for the subsequent creation of an OPV industry based on the distinctive advantages of BELECTRIC OPV’s technology based on a unique manufacturing process, combining printing, lamination and laser structuring technologies, allowing high scalability and the implementation of custom designs. Furthermore BELECTRIC OPV will support its French partners with the integration in the individual projects by means of accompanying system solutions.
“We are proud to be the first communities deploying OPV in integrated fashions in city-centre installations,” says M. Jean-Louis Curret, the President of CCVM. “Moreover, with this first set of projects we are laying the ground-work for an upcoming OPV industry in our region, by means of training our local industries for this new technology.” M. Patrick Baylère, President for Renewable Energies at the CCVM says, “It is remarkable that within a radius of several kilometres we have researchers that are actively giving their knowledge and savoir-faire for the local population and helping Vic-Montaner in becoming a first-class player in renewable energies in France. Accordingly, we are already in the phase of planning follow-up projects on an even larger scale,” he adds.
“Organic Photovoltaics is a key technology for our region and we support this move 200%. Having this technology on our doorstep confirms the IPREM’s key role in OPV research and development,” says Dr. Olivier Donard, Director of the IPREM. Dr. Roger Hiorns, Chargé de Recherche, CNRS says that, “We believe that OPV will play an important role in our energy sourcing of tomorrow. To have these installations near-by will allow us to strengthen our research and development base, testing our materials in a safe and in a real-life environment. This will be directly relevant for future projects and for the education of our students, giving them a good chance to develop high-tech jobs in this region. We’re looking forward to expanding our science education and outreach projects with local communities and schools.”
Dr. Claude Viguier of Axess Tech said, “Axess Tech, with its understanding of the importance of new technologies, electrical installations, and artisanal work will provide a pivotal role in helping incorporate this renewable energy technology into a natural landscape, respecting French values, customs, and local legal needs. We will work closely with Belectric OPV and the IPREM and advise local artisans to ensure that this exciting new technology is implemented safely so that France has a strong implication in this technology.”
“After the installations in Milan and Addis Ababa we are now looking forward to the projects in Vic-Montaner region, showing OPV in direct placement in city-centre environments and in several very innovative integration forms, exemplifying the versatility of our technology. The initial projects with completely different OPV setups will be another proof of the endless possibilities OPV can offer,” comments Mr. Hermann Issa, Director of Business Development and Sales, BELECTRIC OPV. “Furthermore the cooperation with the local partners creates the environment needed for follow-up projects and will be a good opportunity to make OPV installations more widely used in the coming years.”
Merck´s new lisicon formulation enables greater power generation of more than 50 W/m² in semi-transparent Belectric OPV modules
Darmstadt and Nuremberg, Germany, November 26, 2015 – Merck, a leading science and technology company, announced that semi-transparent gray-colored organic photovoltaic (OPV) modules are now available on the market. The new materials, which were successfully developed together with Belectric OPV, were recently presented to the public at the Adaptive Architectures and Smart Materials Conference in Chicago. The showpiece, using gray freeform modules, comprises several laminated glass panes mounted with steel ropes to create a lightweight, curtain-wall-type façade. This offers unlimited design options for modern architectural accents while maintaining transparency and shape.
The modules include Merck’s new lisicon formulation, which achieves superior performance by enabling greater than 50 W/m² power generation in the Belectric OPV modules while remaining semi-transparent. They were optimized and produced in a large-scale production set-up and are ready for commercialization. Merck and Belectric OPV have previously presented the lively blue-colored OPV, which was already used in the installations at the EXPO 2015 at the German Pavilion in Milan, Italy and in the headquarters building of the African Union Security and Peace Council in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. There are many important advantages of OPV technology, especially with respect to building-integrated photovoltaics (BIPV). OPV modules do not show the performance drop usually observed with traditional inorganic photovoltaics in diffuse lighting conditions and under elevated temperatures – typical conditions found in façades. In addition, semi-transparency and tunable colors as well as freedom of design in shape and form are attractive and often even essential features for BIPV applications.
Brian Daniels, Head of the Advanced Technologies business unit at Merck, says, “From many architects we have learned that a gray color will significantly increase the usage of OPV in building integration. Following the installations at the Expo in Milan, we set an aggressive target to develop such a solution. Achieving the intended color with our partner Belectric OPV in such a short time while also achieving superior performance clearly demonstrates the momentum we are gaining within the OPV industry.” Ralph Pätzold, CEO of Belectric OPV added, “The new gray is a key for the wider adoption of OPV. We are very proud that – in the joint effort with Merck – we could bring the new material to a manufacturing quality in very short time. Now all our partners in the construction material segments can benefit instantly from the new color tone.”
Buildings account for 40% of energy consumption and 36% of CO2 emissions in the EU. As a consequence, the EU has set a target for all new buildings to be nearly zero-energy (NZEB) as of 2021. The achievement of the legally binding NZEB objectives will require active building envelopes since passive materials are reaching their own limits. Gray OPV-based active building elements are an important step forward to combine energy generation and the aesthetic needs of architects.
Solar design at the African Union Peace and Security Building in Addis Ababa
Nuremberg, Germany: In collaboration with the leading manufacturer of steel cable and mesh constructions, Carl Stahl Architektur GmbH, and material supplier Merck KGaA, BELECTRIC OPV GmbH has developed for the African Union a unique energy-generating shade sail in the shape of the African continent – which also serves as the logo of the African Union. The active solar shade sail forms the focal point of the new Peace and Security Building of the African Union in Addis Ababa – a project managed by the GIZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH) and implemented with the aid of local construction companies.
The combination of flexible organic solar modules from BELECTRIC OPV GmbH and a stainless steel cable construction from Carl Stahl has allowed the realisation of a solar project of this magnitude for the very first time. The complex system, measuring approx. 25 x 20 metres overall, consists of 445 individual transparent blue modules, using Merck’s lisicon® OPV active material, and held in place by a sophisticated cable mesh construction directly underneath the membrane dome above the Peace and Security Building’s interior. The translucency of the modules makes for approx. 75% light transmission for the overall roof surface. Furthermore, thanks to the OPV modules, the shade sail supplies sufficient electricity to power the LED lighting system inside the building.
The completion of the shade sail as part of the Peace and Security Building means that BELECTRIC OPV has realised its first follow-up project since equipping the German Pavilion at the Expo 2015. As in Milan, the almost unlimited design possibilities offered by the flexible solar cells in the SOLARTE range have also been a convincing factor in Addis Ababa. This flexibility of shape and colour is attributable to the manufacturing process developed by BELECTRIC OPV. Here, printing and coating procedures team up with laser structuring to open up unprecedented options in terms of shape and design. The procedure is highly scalable and is based on classic industrial processes.
“This additional, highly prestigious project finally marks our arrival on the market with our design-oriented photovoltaics for use in the building sector,” Hermann Issa, Director of Business Development and Sales der BELECTRIC OPV, reports. “This project shows once again the varied possibilities offered with regard to design, transparency, flexibility and colour which can be fully developed and implemented by the use of solar modules from BELECTRIC OPV. Thanks to the innovative stainless steel cable mesh products from Carl Stahl, even architectural elements of this size appear weightless and seem to float.”
“Despite the extreme complexity of the project, installation was easy to carry out. Installation scaffolding or hydraulic platforms, such as those generally used to assemble building sections of this size, were not needed for this project. This was due to the extremely light OPV membranes which make construction and installation so quick and easy,” as Luca Casati, head of installation at Carl Stahl and installation supervisor in Addis Ababa, also points out. “The ability to install a system of this size in just five days using mainly local personnel is an indication of the unbelievable potential of combining OPV with steel cable constructions.”
Nuremberg, Germany: The market uptake of customized organic photovoltaic (OPV) products is steadily increasing, with customers representing a variety of industry segments, ranging from small and compact devices for electronics to large formats for building integrated installations. BELECTRIC OPV has brought the usability and acceptance of OPV to a new level by being able to design and manufacture modules in customised shapes and various colours. The customisation of an OPV module not only includes the choice of colour and shape but also involves the tailoring of the device electrical characteristics, such as adjusting voltage level and performance, for the intended usage scenario, e.g. indoor versus outdoor application.
BELECTRIC OPV has invested great effort in the last few years to bring its manufacturing technology to a point that enables the utmost freedom of design. This is achieved by combining freeform laser structuring processes with large-area coating and printing technologies, all of which are based on reliable industrial processes leading to a robust production process as well as easy and cost-effective scalability. The results of these developments have been demonstrated at the German Pavilion at the World EXPO 2015 in Milan, where BELECTRIC and its project partners have installed an OPV system comprising hexagonal modules with a cell layout designed to be aesthetically pleasing. To make such an offering more easily accessible to its customers, BELECTRIC OPV has now revealed a newly-developed design tool, called “Design-2-Module” configurator, which enables the conversion of a customer’s own specifications into a module layout including all relevant technical design parameters by means of computer optimization and automated CAD output. The D2M tool also simultaneously generates all the necessary technical input files for each production process step. Accordingly, the time and effort needed to convert a customer specification into a full set of production data can be greatly reduced. The time-to-market of a customized design is, therefore, no longer dominated by the work spent on module layouts. Furthermore, this tool is capable of grouping different module types onto a single roll of flexible substrate due to the harmonisation and standardisation of design rules. In turn, the time needed to produce also small series of customised products is reduced whilst the economics of such products are increased.
”Offering improved access and maximum benefit to the customer is a clear target of our internal developments”, comments Hermann Issa (Director Business Development and Sales, BELECTRIC OPV). “We are constantly benchmarking ourselves on how we deal with the customisation of our products. After being able to offer fully customer-specific modules, we also wanted to further reduce the barrier for adopting OPV in integrated products.” Mr. Issa adds: “With the addition of the Design-2-Module tool and the developments made for the EXPO project in terms of systemisation, we are now able to deliver complete OPV systems and not only a set of components. These competencies aid us with the integration of OPV into existing or newly developed products.”
Design-2-Module is part of BELECTRIC OPV’s general approach to make OPV accessible to different markets and suitable for different requirements by combining developments all along the value chain, including a manufacturing process that now also facilitates customer involvement.
“With Design-2-Module we have enhanced customer participation and reduced module design turnaround time to meet the demands of the fast-paced consumer electronics market. Now we are working on the implementation of the D2M tool into a web-based application. The current version of the web interface enables you to place your specification by choosing the power output and electrical contacting as well as uploading your desired module shape. After the specifications are processed in house, you will receive the module layout together with a quote. In the next version we will integrate our D2M tool directly into the web interface, so that you can order immediately after you have approved the module layout and performance tailored to your specifications online. We are not yet there, but the most important step has been made”, stated Dr Ralph Paetzold (CEO BELECTIC OPV). “Furthermore, customisation for us does not necessarily correspond to a certain understanding of high or low volume. Especially if customers want large volumes, they are less likely to accept a standard. Therefore, it is important that the manufacturing process can bundle and handle various order volumes in order to take advantage of economy of scale. By using Design-2-Module we are now able to combine most of our volumes, all the rest is now just logistics.”
A COMPANY FULL OF ENERGY
BELECTRIC OPV GmbH, founded 2013, is part of the Belectric group and situated in Nuremberg (R&D) and Kitzingen (Manufacturing Center at INNOPARK Kitzingen). BELECTRIC OPV develops and manufactures organic solar cells and focuses on the commercialization of customized OPV solutions. The company belongs to BELECTRIC group (www.belectric.com), which is one of the world’s most successful companies in the development and construction of ground-mounted solar power plants and photovoltaic roof systems. BELECTRIC is represented worldwide. Its position as a world leader in technology is the result of a high degree of vertical integration in the development and manufacturing processes. A belief in the compatibility of economic and ecological interests has always been the basis for the sustainable success. More than 120 active patents are a testament to BELECTRIC’s innovative spirit.
With our team of scientists, engineers and manufacturing experts we create customized OPV solutions for your application according to your requirements and thus make full use of the intrinsic advantages OPV offers.
Your requirements are our driving force!
Get in contact with BELECTRIC OPV
BELECTRIC OPV GmbH
Phone: +49 (0) 911-21780-0
Fax: +49 (0) 911-21780-10
BELECTRIC OPV GmbH
Steigweg 24, Building 12
Further information at www.innopark-kitzingen.de