New tech could turn windows into solar panels

See-through solar cells have been created which could turn windows into small-scale power plants.

Researchers at Michigan State University have developed thin, transparent, plastic-like material that can act as an energy-generating coating on windows, and provide additional power when coupled with a rooftop solar installation.

While the technology has existed in its early stages since 2015, it is only now developed enough for projects of scale.

The technology works by utilising organic molecules within the transparent film that absorb ultraviolet and infrared lightwaves – which are invisible to the human eye – and converts them into electricity by directing these lightwaves to small photovoltaic cells at the edge of the screen, while letting visible light through.


MSU researcher Richard Lunt holding the transparent solar panel.

MSU researcher Richard Lunt holding the transparent solar panel. Photo: Kurt Stepnitz

The film itself is less than one-thousandth of a millimetre thick.

Currently, the technology is recording energy efficiencies of more than 10 per cent, while traditional solar panels are between 15 and 18 per cent efficient.

SOURCE: The Sydney Morning Herald

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