Increased lifetime of Organic Photovoltaics (OPVs) and the impact of degradation, efficiency and costs in the LCOE of Emerging PVs


Emerging photovoltaic (PV) technologies such as organic photovoltaics (OPVs) and perovskites (PVKs) have the potential to disrupt the PV market due to their ease of fabrication (compatible with cheap roll-to-roll processing) and installation, as well as their significant efficiency improvements in recent years. However, rapid degradation is still an issue present in many emerging PVs, which must be addressed to enable their commercialisation. This thesis shows an OPV lifetime enhancing technique by adding the insulating polymer PMMA to the active layer, and a novel model for quantifying the impact of degradation (alongside efficiency and cost) upon levelized cost of energy (LCOE) in real world emerging PV installations. The effect of PMMA morphology on the success of a ternary strategy was investigated, leading to device design guidelines. It was found that either increasing the weight percent (wt%) or molecular weight (MW) of PMMA resulted in an increase in the volume of PMMA-rich islands, which provided the OPV protection against water and oxygen ingress. It was also found that adding PMMA can be effective in enhancing the lifetime of different active material combinations, although not to the same extent, and that processing additives can have a negative impact in the devices lifetime. A novel model was developed taking into account realistic degradation profile sourced from a literature review of state-of-the-art OPV and PVK devices. It was found that optimal strategies to improve LCOE depend on the present characteristics of a device, and that panels with a good balance of efficiency and degradation were better than panels with higher efficiency but higher degradation as well. Further, it was found that low-cost locations were more favoured from reductions in the degradation rate and module cost, whilst high-cost locations were more benefited from improvements in initial efficiency, lower discount rates and reductions in install costs

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