Light-weight and stretchable, organic photovoltaics offer unique integration prospects. Now, a recent report from Someya in Nature Energy (doi:10.1038/s41560-017-0001-3) reported a breakthrough and showed that organic solar cells and modules can also be washed while maintaining good photoconversion efficiencies. Nature Energy invited us to discuss the relevance on this finding for the OPV roadmap. A focus on integrated portable solutions provides a strong marketing concept for OPV technology. We believe that washable and wearable solar cells will constitute a unique selling point for OPV modules, complementing flexibility and stretchability, in complete opposition to today’s more traditional PV technologies such as silicon. For these applications, power (W per m²) and costs (€ per m²) are not the right benchmarks. Instead, the performance of the solar cell must be sufficient to provide application-specific functionality — washability, for example — and the costs must not be a barrier to market penetration. Therefore, we believe that the industrial OPV roadmap is intrinsically different from those for inorganic and hybrid PV technologies, including that of perovskite PV.
Our comment can be found at Nature Energy (doi:10.1038/s41560-017-0011-1).