A UK company that has developed a solar photovoltaic system that can be ‘printed’ on glass has received a £2 million investment boost.
Oxford Photovoltaics (OPV), a spin-off company from Oxford University, has been working on its transparent photovoltaic (PV) solar cells for a number of years and is approaching the initial testing phase.
Investment firm MTI Partners raised part of the latest round of funding, with further investment coming from Oxford University and private investors. The money will be used to improve the technical and commercial teams of the company and construct new production and testing facilities in the Begbroke Science Park near Oxford.
The OPV cells are made out of organic materials and, because they are transparent, can be printed on glass panels that could cover the glass facades of entire buildings. The cells are applied during the production process of the glass panel and estimates suggest that it would cost up to 10% more to use them. Given the size of a building, this could prove more cost effective than a conventional solar panel, according to OPV Chief Executive Officer Kevin Arthur.
Laboratory tests suggest they are currently capable of 10.7% efficiency, although efficiency varies depending on the size and tint of the PV ‘glass’. Mr Arthur estimates the cells could reach 14 or 15% efficiency in the next year to 18 months.