Interactive solar cells: Will hybrid organic photovoltaics power the internet of things?
Matt Carnie a, Adam Pockett a, Gethin Thomas a, Suzanne Thomas a, Kris Seunarine a, Yogesh Meena b, Matt Jones b, Simon Robinson b, Thomas Reitmaier b, Dani Kalarikalayil Raju c, Deepak Sahoo b, Jennifer Pearson b, Zhang Chi b, Simone Meroni a
a Materials Research Centre, Swansea University, UK, United Kingdom
b Computational Foundry, College of Science, Swansea University, UK, Bay Campus, Swansea SA1 8EN, United Kingdom
c Studio Hasi Mumbai, India
International Conference on Hybrid and Organic Photovoltaics
Proceedings of 13th Conference on Hybrid and Organic Photovoltaics (HOPV21)
Online, Spain, 2021 May 24th - 28th
Organizers: Marina Freitag, Feng Gao and Sam Stranks
Invited Speaker, Matt Carnie, presentation 035
Publication date: 11th May 2021

Intel corporation predict that by the end of 2020, up to 200 billion connected Internet of Things (IoT) devices came online and this is predicted to consume over 1000 TWh yr-1 by 2025. To put this in perspective, this is over 1300 x the energy output of EU’s largest solar plant, Núñez de Balboa. The increasing digital interconnectivity of our everyday lives means that this energy burden will only increase in the coming decades. In addition, many portable IoT devices incorporate primary batteries, which consume valuable materials. One solution to this growing demand is the coupling of IoT nodes with energy harvesting devices, such as photovoltaics cells which could provide power to IoT nodes and avoid the need to replace primary batteries.

Hybrid solar cells such as perovskites, OPVs and DSSCs, have all shown promising performance in ambient light, meaning that any of these technologies could be candidates to power future IoT devices. Despite the promise of these PV technologies, work needs to be done especially around standards for testing. There is currently no consensus on what constitutes “ambient light” both in terms of spectral and power output and it is difficult to compare results from one laboratory to the next. We can predict the path of the Sun for any given point on Earth, but predicting how much light power is available in any given ambient scenario is difficult and reliant on human factors such as available light sources (e.g. CFT, LED, natural, or combination) and position of the solar cell relative to the light source.

This presentation will explore these issues, showing the results of maximum power measurement in real and simulated scenarios and how in some cases, an IV curve measured at single lux value is not an accurate predicator of real-world performance. Module design will also be discussed in relation to series resistance at low light intensity and how this may be able to reduce module costs. Finally, the presentation will explore some ideas from the field of Human-Computer-Interaction (HCI) showing the result of collaborative work whereby hybrid solar cells not only provide power to IoT nodes, but also provide means of user interaction and control of the technologies themselves.

We use our own and third party cookies for analysing and measuring usage of our website to improve our services. If you continue browsing, we consider accepting its use. You can check our Cookies Policy in which you will also find how to configure your web browser for the use of cookies. More info