Transparent Solar Panels for Windows



In the future, solar panels will no longer be restricted to the roof. You’ll be able to put them on your windows too. The transparent solar cell is made out of a plastic that absorbs invisible infared light while letting most visible light pass through. “If you take a piece of glass and compare it to our solar cell, it is difficult to tell the difference,” said study leader Yang Yang, a professor at UCLA and director of the Nano Renewable Energy Center at California NanoSystems Institute (CNSI).

Scientists at UCLA have invented a thin, transparent solar cell that can turn the energy of the sun into electricity, while still allowing visible light to stream through it.  There is a catch, of course: Transparent solar cells are not nearly as efficient as opaque ones. Yang said that by solving the visibility problem, 30% of a cell’s energy-absorbing capability had to be sacrificed. The good news is that the process is very economical, and the material can be fabricated as a liquid that can be sprayed on a surface, much in the same way that car factories spray paint onto automobiles. Yang said he had already received calls from people ready to buy the transparent solar cells, but he does not expect the product to be ready for commercial use for at least five years. Knowing that UCLA is behind such transparent solar panel, gives us hope that they will one day exist.

via LA Times