In August 2015, researchers at Michigan State University created a transparent solar concentrator, which can turn any window or sheet of glass into a solar cell. Spearheaded by Prof. Richard Lunt, the research aims to integrate the use of solar power into the lives of people in a genuinely non-intrusive way. This technology is truly amazing!
These solar cells are completely transparent. Now the very nature of transparent materials means that light completely passes through them – meaning no energy can be absorbed. To get around this limitation, the Michigan State researchers created the technology called a transparent luminescent solar concentrator which employs organic salts to absorb wavelengths of light that are invisible to the eye. These wavelengths are then guided to the edge of the cell where thin strips of conventional photovoltaic solar cell to convert the light into electricity.
The top efficiency of these solar cells is only 5%. These numbers are low compared to “ordinary” solar cells but on a larger scale, the numbers quickly add up. If every window of a building is replaced with the transparent solar cell then the possibility of solar cities is truly not far off. They are also looking into using the transparent solar cell as a screen for smartphones or tablets which can give you a few more minutes or even hours of usage on a single battery charge.
As of now the researchers aim to continue to develop the power efficiency of the cells while maintaining an affordable price. This technology offers a big promise in the field of renewable energy. There are still trying to improve the cell and has a long way to go before it can be put into the market. But one thing is for sure, the sensational transparent solar cell is the future of alternative energy….
Ok, here’s the video: