Soon we may be able to see into the future, quite literally, as solar windows – the power source of a new era – become a reality. Thanks to newly developed transparent solar cells, compliments of UCLA, your whole home could soon become a self-sustained powerhouse.
The new polymer solar cell, as it’s described, is 70 percent transparent but still manages to harvest near-infrared light using its photoactive plastic cells. Yes, we know plastic sounds dated and cheap, but that’s the point. Thanks to the affordable components these transparent solar panels can be made in high volumes at low cost – meaning they can be adopted by everybody.
So we’re not only expecting solar windows but transparent solar powered screen layers on our mobiles, tablets, and laptops. Even our cars can use them – as was proposed by the OLED Car roof – and hopefully planes too following the recent record-breaking Solar Impulse flight on sunlight power alone.
Since this is only at university discovery stages right now don’t expect to have salesmen beating down your door quoting new solar windows anytime soon. But it’s nice to know that a green, sustainable future will be even less visually obtrusive than we could have imagined.
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