Transparent solar panels could be the future of electricity generation

Researchers from the University of California have developed a new kind of polymer solar cell (PSC) which can generate electricity by absorbing mainly infrared light, allowing the panels to remain mostly transparent to the human eye. 

Solar panel technology is already a great way to reduce your reliance on electricity suppliers while at the same time offering significant environmental benefits.

The exciting part about this new technology is that it could one day be used in windows of homes and offices, allowing people to significantly offset their energy usage.

"Our new PSCs are made from plastic-like materials and are lightweight and flexible. More importantly, they can be produced in high volume at low cost," said Yang Yang director of the Nano Renewable Energy Center at California NanoSystems Institute (July 20).

"These results open the potential for visibly transparent polymer solar cells as add-on components of portable electronics, smart windows and building-integrated photovoltaics and in other applications."

According to the University, previous attempts at producing transparent PSC's have resulted in cells that were either too opaque or too inefficient to be practical.

The secret of this new technology is a near-infrared light-sensitive polymer as well as a transparent conductor made of a mixture of silver nanowire and titanium dioxide nanoparticles.

Fingers crossed that these new transparent solar cells will someday be powering homes across Australia, as that would certainly help reduce our electricity prices.

Posted by Charlie Moore