Giving Compass' Take:

• Karl Greenberg at NYU writes for Futurity on new research discovering a remarkable way to make organic solar cells more robust, including conferring resistance to oxygen, water, and light.

• This research shows a pathway to make sure organic photovoltaics can compete against silicon on rooftops, in rain and snow. How will this impact the solar industry?

Here's an article on how solar cells work. 

The market for organic solar cells is expected to grow more than 20 percent between 2017 and 2020, driven by advantages over traditional silicon solar cells. Manufacturers can mass produce organic solar cells at scale with roll-to-roll processing. It’s easy to find the materials comprising them in the earth and scientists could apply them to solar cells through green chemistry.

The cells can be semitransparent and therefore less visually intrusive—meaning they can be mounted on windows or screens and are ideal for mobile devices; they are ultra-flexible and can stretch; and they can be ultra-lightweight.

Unlike silicon solar cells, however, organic cells are highly vulnerable to moisture, oxygen, and sunlight itself. State-of-the-art remediation involves incapsulating the cell, which adds to production cost and unit weight, while reducing efficiency.

To address these problems, researchers ended up removing, not adding, material.

Read the full article about new solar cells by Karl Greenberg at Futurity.