Transparent Photoelectric Cells Made for WindowsCategory: Science & Technology
Posted: July 20, 2012 10:34PM
Despite the interest in renewable energy sources like wind and solar power, the state of modern technology limits them to producing less power than other, less-clean energy sources. However solar panels and wind turbine are significantly easier to install in odd, public areas than larger power plants. Many researchers are working on developing solar power paint and windows to take advantage of this fact, because while those solutions may not be as efficient as full-size power plants, they can be installed and used without interfering with people or the environment.
Researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles have recently developed a solar panel along these lines as it is 70% transparent. The key for this polymer solar cell is that it reacts only weakly with visible light and strongly with infrared light. Infrared light carries less energy than visible, but this sacrifice for transparency will greatly help the design in the end, thanks to the variety of potential uses.
Another major bonus for this design is that it is polymer based and made in solution. This allows it to be mass produced cheaply, which is important for this technology to enter commercial products. Though the 4% efficiency is not particularly great, these other factors give this design great potential, and that efficiency can only increase as the UCLA researchers and others continue their work.