Transparent Solar Panels Meeting Today’s Requirements
Back in 2014, the news of transparent solar energy technology first surfaced; the industry was excited by the concept of glass office buildings transforming sunlight into useful, green energy without sacrificing the aesthetic value. It was also predicted to be a big hit for private homes as a rooftop and/or window installation, and it met its expectations of popularity when housing developers began building them into their new projects.
The transparency of the solar panels was a huge selling point, as the previous versions had been coloured, and blocked at least a part of the visible sunlight, effectively making them impossible to use for spaces where light was essential. The then-new version, developed by Richard Lund, a professor of chemical engineering and materials science at the Michigan State University, was a breakthrough in that it only used the invisible (to the human eye) wavelengths allowing the light itself to stream in through the panels and into the space behind them. The difference was in how Lund had placed the receptors; the Luminescent Solar Concentrators, (LSCs) diverted the wanted molecules to the side of the panels, where the converters were unobtrusive but functional. The problem with these panels was their efficiency: at their conception, they were only able to reach 1%.
Over the last three years, the panels have improved up to a conversion rate of 5%. This has been the result of Lund and his team constantly working on the issue and finding any opportunities to boost this number. At the same time, they have been conducting additional research into ways of deploring the panels on a wider scale. According to Lund, their findings were very significant: “Highly transparent solar cells represent the wave of the future for new solar applications. We analyzed their potential and show that by harvesting only invisible light, these devices can provide a similar electricity-generation potential as rooftop solar while providing additional functionality to enhance the efficiency of buildings, automobiles and mobile electronics.”
As a result, the team believe this will decrease the current dent in energy stability. By combining the forces of transparent and rooftop panels, solar energy would balance out fossil fuel and reduce its market share in the sector.
Dashboard believe this idea is truly innovative and combines technology with other sectors, such as construction and architecture. We will enjoy following the development of the transparent solar panels and the future they will face.