The University of Newcastle has developed technology for printing organic solar cells which is regarded as a globally significant breakthrough in the commercial application of renewable energy.

The organic printed solar cells are printed on a ultra-lightweight, laminate material, similar in texture and flexibility to a potato chip packet.

A U.S. comany, Konarka, developed a process for printing organic solar cells about 10 years ago but was unable to bring the costs down sufficiently and went bankrupt in 2012.

Now, the University of Newcastle team, led by Professor Paul Dastoor, has developed the process to the point that the material delivers unprecedented affordability at a production cost of less than $10 per square metre.

The process has the potential to creat a vast new manufacturing opportunity for Australian firms with a Beresfield-based logistics company, CHEP, becoming the the first commercial owner of the technology in Australia and probably the world.