Swedish startup wins EU funding to print organic indoor solar panels

The EU has granted €3.3mn to a consortium led by Swedish startup Epishine. The group's mission is to boost the development of organic solar panels.   

In this case, organic refers to solar panels that are carbon-based. Instead of using silicon to conduct electricity, these solar panels utilise organic molecules.

Organic solar cells are very lightweight, cheap, semi-transparent, printable, and flexible. They can also convert indoor light into electricity. That can be from sunlight streaming in through an open window or completely artificial light, such as LEDs or halogen bulbs.

The downside is that organic solar panels degrade a lot faster than their silicon counterparts, meaning they're not much good for use outdoors. However, they're perfectly suited for powering smaller electronics like remote controls and wireless keyboards or IoT devices.  

“This funding will enable us to further accelerate our joint market efforts and continue our mission of making self-powered electronics the standard,” said Anders Kottenauer, Epishine's CEO. The company says it aims to make single-use batteries and cables “a thing of the past.”

Small is beautiful

This CO2 Display by Bulgaria's MClimate monitors carbon dioxide levels in the air. It's powered by Epishine's solar tech. Credit: Epishine

Just last week, German telecommunications manufacturer Sentinum and Epishine launched a self-charging temperature and humidity sensor. Epishine has also built solar-powered electronic shelf labels and integrated circuits for chips. The company is even working with China's Nichicon to develop a self-charging battery powered by light. 

“Two of Epishine's strengths are the thin flexibility of our csolar cells and their high efficiency in very low light conditions,” said Matthias Josephson, co-founder of Epishine. “For these types of products we seem to have a unique product market fit.” 

In November, Epishine opened a new solar cell factory to meet growing demand. The new facility has the capacity to produce 100 million modules annually, using the company's roll-to-roll printing technology. This system prints solar cells on very long rolls of plastic, which can dramatically speed up production. 

Details of the funding and consortium are currently scant. We have reached out to Epishine to find out more and will update this article if we receive a response with more information.

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