Windows, panes of glass, sunroofs, and even entire buildings could generate solar energy thanks to the development of a completely transparent solar panel. Designed by researchers at Michigan State University (MSU), the new solar cell technology aims to replace the existing semi-transparent or tinted tech.
The team were able to develop the new solar cell using another of their creations, the transparent luminescent solar concentrator (TLSC). Researchers harnessed the power of infrared and ultraviolet light using the TLSC, which employs organic salts to absorb invisible wavelengths of light. This means that visible light can travel to the human eye uninhibited, making the solar panel indistinguishable from normal glass.
Still in its prototypal stage, the researchers hope to refine their creation for uses in the industrial industry and manageable gadgets like handheld devices. But according to Richard Lunt of MSU’s College of Engineering, much work is needed to improve the technology’s energy producing efficiency.
“It opens a lot of area to deploy solar energy in a non-intrusive way,” Lunt said. “It can be used on tall buildings with lots of windows or any kind of mobile device that demands high aesthetic quality like a phone or e-reader. Ultimately we want to make solar harvesting surfaces that you do not even know are there.”