New transparent solar panels could make windows the future of electricity, American university researchers have said.
The panels – made from a “glass-like” plastic – aim to remove concerns solar panels are an eyesore, especially after a recent opening of one of the UK’s largest ground-mounted solar farms revealed 18,000 panels on 12 hectares would power just 1,000 homes.
The latest solar cell produces energy by absorbing mainly infrared right, making the cells almost 70% transparent.
“These results open the potential for visibly transparent polymer solar cells as add-on components of portable electronics, smart windows and building-integrated photovoltaics and in other applications,” says study leader Yang Yang of the University of California, Los Angeles.
According to Yang, there has been worldwide interest in so-called polymer solar cells.
“Our new PSCs are made from plastic-like materials, and are lightweight and flexible. More importantly, they can be produced in high volume at low cost,” Yang says.
Polymer solar cells have attracted attention due to their advantages over competing solar cell technologies, suggesting it is an area of opportunity for Australian entrepreneurs to delve into.