Solar Cells are Now Transparent

We have covered a lot of different aspects of solar cell technology here at ATS in our quest to provide you with interesting new technologies. We have explored topics like increased solar efficiency, biomass gasification, and artificial photosynthesis. However, there’s a new technology in town this week that can change not just how solar power works but where it can be used. Transparent solar power may soon be an available technology. This technology would have the potential to allow all clear surfaces, from windows to phones, to be used as a receptor for storing and converting solar energy.

If you haven’t been following us, developing technologies is a subject that is near and dear to ATS considering that we test for and remove outdated storage tanks and even developed our own tank testing equipment. Scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs are constantly creating new technologies that make our daily lives easier, streamline difficult processes, improve the environment, and generally bring us closer as a global community. On most Thursdays, the ATS blog strives to bring you a new “tech” that we think is worth learning about!

A lot of the approach to solar energy harvesting has been focused on the efficiency of the system. The most efficient systems were often opaque. However, researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and The Michigan State University, believe they have bridged the gap between transparency and effectiveness. The connection relies on organic chemistry wherein the material is tuned to only allow ultraviolet and near infrared wavelengths. While colored surfaces remain more efficient for now, transparent surfaces will be able to be multi-use. Currently, researchers envision using the technology to power electronic devices.

Although the technology is still being developed, the possibilities for solar cells in transparent surfaces are endless.