The UB team is working on a class of organic photovoltaic material that can be loosely described as plastic. In contrast to conventional solar cells made of silicon and other inorganic substances, organic solar cells are based on long chains of hydrocarbon molecules called polymers.
Organic solar cells are far less efficient at converting sunlight to electricity than conventional solar cells. However, organic materials have several major offsetting advantages.
Namely, organic materials are far less expensive than conventional solar cell materials, and organic solar cells can be manufactured using standard, inexpensive processes. Organic solar material could also piggyback on other building surfaces as paint, or it could replace ordinary window glass in the form of transparent solar windows.