Solarmer Energy Partners With NREL

Los Angeles-based Solarmer Energy, the UCLA spinout which is developing flexible plastic solar panels, and the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), said today that they have signed on in a research and development deal to work on improving the lifetime of plastic solar cells. According to the firms, they will explore the lifetime and stability of the organic photovoltaic (OPV) devices that make up the energy-harvesting layers of plastic solar cells, with NREL evaluating the lifetime of Solarmer's technology. Financial details of the joint R and D project were not disclosed. The firms said the effort is aimed at finding better encapsulation and packaging approaches for plastic solar cells. The major disadvantage of current flexible plastic solar cells is a very short lifetime, compared with existing photovoltaic technology.