Transparent Solar Cells

These glass like solar panels could revolutionize self power generation by buildings all around the world,  reducing the energy costs of buildings by taking the energy from the sunlight while still allowing you to see the sky outside.This technology had been created at the Michigan State University,  however this technology won’t just be used with glass on windows it can also be used on smartphones and any other glass like surfaces to transform the into photo-voltaic cells.

However there are other types of transparent solar cells out there but what unique quality this one has in particular it is totally transparent.

 

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Richard Lunt and his team who led this research are very confident that the change from old style solar cells to these new transparent ones will give more opportunities to designers of products which have glass integrated into them,  allowing more products to utilize the power of solar energy generation.

 

But how do these transparent solar cells really work?

To get a good idea of this let’s look at the previous solar cells structure.  Photovoltaic cells now make energy by absorbing photons and converting them into electrons.

 

They are made from semiconductors such a silicon and as the light hits the semiconductor it gives the energy transferred allows the electrons within the material to move and break away from their valence shells causing a knock on effect with other electrons generating a current.  It’s this power that is harvested and used to power your devices.

 

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However these cells being transparent so they aren’t essentially  they aren’t catching the photons energy,  instead of catching the visible light these new cells absorb ultraviolet and infrared which humans cannot see.  This gives  the cell it’s transparency.

 

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To make them transparent the scientists here used a transparent luminescent solar concentrator (TLSC).  This material consists of organic salts that absorb the specific non visible wavelengths light.  Once the light is caught the salt creates another non visible infrared light which is guided to the edge of the cell where thin strips of the conventional solar cells would be located converting that energy gathered into electrical energy.

Michigans TLSC has the current efficiency of around 1% but the team think they could increase this to 5%.  However the current conventional solar panels convert around 7%.  These aren’t huge figures but on a large scale such as a skyscraper would generate huge amounts of power,  which can be utilised by the building.

 

The researchers are very confident that this technology can be used in many different areas of business and can have a dramatic effect upon how buildings generate their own renewable energy.

 

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