October 22, 2014

See-through solar cells: a new view of solar tech

Windows, especially ones on large commercial buildings, catch tons of sunlight. That sunlight is usually just reflected away from the building, wasting potential energy. But thanks to the work of UCLA researchers a nearly transparent, double-layered, polymer solar film has been developed. This flexible and easy-to-adhere solar technology can be installed on windows and smartphone displays, enabling buildings and electronic devices to capture the energy from the sun's infrared rays.

Composed of two separate solar cells, this new product is more effective than previous solar film attempts. UCLA Researchers discovered two cells capture a wider spectrum of light—creating more solar energy than thought possible with nearly transparent cells. These new innovations almost double the energy efficiency of the 2012 model of these see-through cells, from 4% to 7.3%.

UCLA scientists report that these cells will be easy to manufacture and can be produced in different colored tints that best fit the design needs of each building on which they installed. The solar cell film is reportedly 70% transparent—enough to maintain an unobstructed view out of your windows or of your smartphone's display.

This amazing technology is an innovation that can help America solve the energy crisis and save money for businesses big and small.



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