Scientists Create Transparent Solar Panels Out of ‘Glass-Like’ Plastic_Featured_, Alternative Energy, Technology Friday, July 27th, 2012
One of the occasional complaints around solar panels is that they are ‘an eyesore’.
Well this may be about to change, after researchers developed a new transparent solar cell which means windows in homes and other buildings can have the ability to generate electricity while still allowing people to see outside.
The University of California, Los Angeles team describes a new kind of polymer solar cell (PSC) that produces energy by absorbing mainly infrared light, making the cells nearly 70 per cent transparent to the human eye.
They made the device from a photo-active plastic that converts infrared light into an electrical current.
‘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,’ said study leader Yang Yang, a UCLA professor of materials science and engineering.
Yang added that there has been intense world-wide interest in so-called polymer solar cells.
‘Our new PSCs are made from plastic-like materials and are lightweight and flexible,’ he said. ‘More importantly, they can be produced in high volume at low cost.’
Polymer solar cells have attracted great attention due to their advantages over competing solar cell technologies.
Scientists have also been intensely investigating PSCs for their potential in making unique advances for broader applications. Several such applications would be enabled by high-performance visibly transparent photovoltaic (PV) devices, including building-integrated photovoltaics and integrated PV chargers for portable electronics.
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