The Clear Future of Fully Transparent Solar Cells

Interesting Engineering
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The sun is of the most abundant and renewable energy sources available to us on planet Earth and we hardly use it to fulfill our energy demands. This is one of the reasons why the team at Ubiquitous Energy and Michigan State University tackled the issue of transparency in solar cell technology and came out clear winners.
The main issue with respect to using energy from the sun has been that of space. The solar panels of today take up a lot of space and it prevents us from applying the technology to our everyday lives. For years the focus of the research that went into making solar cells was on decreasing their size and making them transparent. This would allow them to be used in place of glass or clear plastic.

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The new fully transparent solar cells allow visible light through but the light on the invisible end of the spectrum is being selectively collected and used for electricity. The technology instead of creating smaller and smaller components to hide them in the panels developed an invisible film or coating to be applied over existing materials that concentrates the solar energy.


[Image Source: Online Library]

Existing panels have about a 22% efficient and absorb all frequencies of light whereas new transparent solar cell technology only absorbs the invisible light spectrum with the visible light passing through and has an efficiency today of about 10%. This is a definite drop but it is expected to reach 20%. The thing to keep in mind is that it’s more about surface area so try to imagine a skyscraper being made entirely from these solar concentrater panels. They could power it.

urban-205986_1280[Image Source: Pixabay]

The applications are wide reaching and include anything from buildings and vehicles to mobile devices or windows.


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