Reversible degradation of inverted organic solar cells by concentrated sunlight Academic Article uri icon


  • Concentrated sunlight was used to study the performance response of inverted P3HT:PCBM organic solar cells after exposure to high intensity sunlight. Correlations of efficiency as a function of solar intensity were established in the range of 0.5–15 suns at three different stages: for a pristine cell, after 30 min exposure at 5 suns and after 30 min of rest in the dark. High intensity exposure introduced a major performance decrease for all solar intensities, followed by a partial recovery of the lost performance over time: at 1 sun only 6% of the initial performance was conserved after the high intensity exposure, while after rest the performance had recovered to 60% of the initial value. The timescale of the recovery effect was studied by monitoring the cell performance at 1 sun after high intensity exposure. This showed that cell performance was almost completely restored after 180 min. The transient state is believed to be a result of the breakdown of the diode behaviour of the ZnO electron transport layer by O2 desorption, increasing the hole conductivity. These results imply that accelerated degradation of organic solar cells by concentrated sunlight is not a straightforward process, and care has to be taken to allow for a sound accelerated lifetime assessment based on concentrated sunlight. S Online supplementary data available from (Some figures in this article are in colour only in the electronic version)

publication date

  • January 1, 2011