A new generation of see-through solar cell technology could soon be used to harvest the massive energy potential of building and car windows, cell phones as well as other objects with a transparent surface.
Scientists at Michigan State University detailed in a paper in the journal Nature Energy how highly transparent solar applications could “nearly meet U.S. electricity demand” and drastically reduce reliance upon fossil fuels.
“We will see commercial products become available over the next few years,” Richard Lunt, an associate professor of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science at MSU, tells Newsweek. “We are just beginning to hit performance metrics that make sense to scale up.”
Lunt and his MSU colleagues have previously pioneered solar technology that collects energy from invisible wavelengths of light so that it doesn’t disrupt the view when placed over a window.
The system uses materials to pick up ultraviolet and near infrared wavelengths, which are guided to the edge of the surface they are on for it to be converted into electricity by thin strips of photovoltaic solar cells.
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