Scientists are developing transparent solar panels that can be used as Windows

Contrary to transparent silicon solar panels the solar panel that is transparent created from an organic plastic.

A group of scientists have come up with an innovative method of creating solar panels with photovoltaic technology that let light through. These solar cells that are transparent could start a new revolution in energy as they can be used in homes, offices factories, and other buildings. Just by replacing windows, solar cells that are transparent will take up a small amount of area while still producing sustainable and renewable energy. Researchers have managed to make organic solar cells using an innovative method that can be easily scaled to mass production.

“In principle, we could currently scale semitransparent organic cells to 2 inches by two meters that brings our windows closer to the real world,” said Stephen Forrest the professor in Electrical Engineering and the author of the study published in the journal Joule.

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The majority of solar cells utilized today are comprised from silicon. This leads to the panels being totally transparent. The recent advancements and research on silicon-based photovoltaic cell has been growing the use of alternative solar cell technologies such as organic solar cells are gradually being investigated, even though they are behind silicon panels in terms of efficiency and life span. Forrest’s group of scientists have developed solar cells that have a record effectiveness of 10% and 30 year duration.

The main obstacle in the widespread use in the use of solar panels made from organic materials is the fact that until this point, it was not possible to scale up manufacturing for it. The lasers used to cut the electrical connections at micron size in silicon scales cannot be applied to organic cells because they could easily harm the light absorbers made of plastic.

The team of Forrest’s developed a multi-step peel-off patterning technique which could still create micron-sized connections. Small pieces of plastic patterned were laid down between metal and organic layers that were later removed to form extremely fine electrical connections between the cells.

The panels boast around 50 percent transparency , and an emerald-colored tint, which makes the panels suitable for commercial usage. The technology that makes solar cells more transparent, suitable for usage in homes, could also be developed with the new method.

“The research we’re doing is helping to reduce the risk to allow manufacturers to make the necessary investments to begin production on a large scale.

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