With Expos serving as a showcase for the creativity and technological innovation of their participating countries, pavilions provides an ideal element to combine both unique design and technical prowess. Such was the case with Germany’s pavilion at World Expo 2015 Milan, which boldly incorporated organic photovoltaics (OPV) – an exciting and rapidly developing form of solar power – into the structure of its “Field of Dreams” themed pavilion.

By mimicking the absorption of light by plants, OPV technology, unlike traditional silicon-based solar cells, offers a greater degree of flexibility due to its light weight and adaptability, as well as its lower production cost. While the technology was not new in 2015, it had never before been implemented on such a scale, with the pavilion being the first structure to fully integrate a photovoltaic system using flexible printed OPV modules glued to the solar trees. These trees, known as ‘idea seedlings’, stored solar energy during the day in order to illuminate the pavilion at night.

As an unprecedented demonstration of the versatility of OPV technology, Germany’s pavilion presented a new form of solar power that is both flexible and virtually invisible, opening the way for renewable energy to be easily and cleverly integrated into the design of a range of different structures.

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