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Italy’s ERG unit to develop organic solar cells

Italian renewable energy company ERG Renew and architectural design firm Permasteelisa said on Wednesday they would work together on developing non-silicon based solar panels.

Energy and industrial companies as well as banks have been flocking into the solar energy sector in Italy after the government last year approved incentives to boost photovoltaic (PV) energy, which turns sunlight into power. ERG Renew, a unit of Italian energy group ERG, and Permasteelisa said in a joint statement they aimed to develop over the next four years “organic” photovoltaic cells and to start up an industrial production line of DSSC panels (Dye Sensitized Solar Cells).

The €10 million ($14.16 million) project aims to develop innovative technology which would use light-sensitive organic pigments and nanotechnology to generate electricity, the companies said. “In contrast to traditional models, the new panels will use simpler production processes which utilize less energy, having a reduced environmental impact and lower costs,” they said.

The panels are less sensitive to the angle of solar radiation which allows them to be installed on vertical walls, for example glass skyscrapers and towers, or in places with indirect sunlight, the statement said.

Australian solar cell company Dyesol would be involved in the project, with an about €1.5 million investment, the Italian companies said. (Reuters)