New transparent solar cells will solve all of our problems
Crank up the AC! Leave the hair dryer running all day! Energy crisis solved! Sort of! Not really!
There are a lot of people excited, however, over the development of a new type of transparent solar panel that could be used as a window. In other words, you look out your window in your house, confident in the knowledge that the glass is helping power your house. And the sun never goes out (until millions of years from now when it does and life as we know it ceases and the windows don’t work quite as well). UCLA researchers say the panels they’ve produced could be manufactured in large numbers and at low cost.
It’s not the first time this has been attempted, says TG Daily:
Previously, attempts at transparent or semitransparent PSCs have tended to be either not transparent enough, or comparatively inefficient. But, says the team, this is because their makers weren’t using suitable polymeric PV materials and efficient transparent conductors.
But the UCLA team has incorporated near-infrared light-sensitive polymer and used silver nanowire composite films as the top transparent electrode. The polymer, they say, absorbs more near-infrared light but is less sensitive to visible light, balancing solar cell performance and transparency at visible wavelengths.
Got all that? ME NEITHER. But hooray panels to power our houses!
There’s a lot happening in the world. Through it all, Marketplace is here for you.
You rely on Marketplace to break down the world’s events and tell you how it affects you in a fact-based, approachable way. We rely on your financial support to keep making that possible.
Your donation today powers the independent journalism that you rely on. For just $5/month, you can help sustain Marketplace so we can keep reporting on the things that matter to you.