New PV Unit to Be Tested as Building Wall

2014/03/25 19:22
Kiyotaka Nakanishi, Nikkei BP CleanTech Institute

Mitsubishi Chemical Corp and Taisei Corp have co-developed an external building wall unit that generates electricity with organic thin-film solar cells.

This was announced March 24, 2014. The two companies will evaluate its performance in an operation test.

Mitsubishi Chemical has been engaged in the development of solution-processed organic thin-film solar cells and achieved a conversion efficiency of 11.7%, which is the world's highest level for an organic solar cell.

Solution-processed organic thin-film solar cells are manufactured by applying organic semiconductor materials. Therefore, when a thin substrate made of, for example, plastic or metal is used, it becomes possible to realize a lightweight, flexible solar cell. Those cells can be formed on a three-dimensional curved surface, and it is possible that the cells will be installed or attached in a much wider variety of locations in the future.

For the newly-developed external building wall unit, based on its knowledge and knowhow related to exterior materials, Taisei pursued a variety of designs and colors, which are required for buildings, as well as capability to be easily replaced so that the unit can be used for long-life buildings.

To promote solar power generation in urban areas, where a limited area is available for the installation of solar panels, it is effective not only to install panels on roofs but also to add power generation capability to external walls and windows.

Taisei is currently building the "ZEB (zero energy building) Verification Building" on the site of its technical center in Totsuka Ward, Yokohama City, Japan. Mitsubishi Chemical and Taisei employed the newly-developed cell for the external walls of the building, planning to test its power generation performance, workability, durability, etc.