Transparent Solar Panels
Scientists have been researching and developing transparent solar panel technologies for decades, but only recently has such a truly transparent option been created. American technology company Ubiquitous Energy is leading the development of transparent solar cells with the aim of implementing it into a wide range of everyday products.
How Does a Transparent Solar Panel Work?
The clear solar panels absorb ultraviolet and infrared light, whilst still allowing light visible to the human eye to transmit. The technology means that scientists have been able to develop a solar film that still allows for 90% transparency. This is a big advancement on the previous ‘transparent’ solar panels, which could only provide a decent level of efficiency by being tinted (and therefore not overly transparent). At less than 1/1000th of a millimetre thick, the film also has the potential to be applied to a huge range of everyday items.
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Transparent Solar Panel Efficiency
There is a trade-off between how transparent a solar panel or glass can be and how efficient it is. Currently, Ubiquitous clear solar technology is looking to achieve more than 10% efficiency. Whilst this is not as high as a traditional silicon solar panel, it can be installed in a much wider range of locations than traditional opaque solar panels can.
Uses of Transparent Solar
It is likely that transparent solar will first be rolled out in smaller devices such as mobile phones and watches before it is taken to a bigger scale. The developers of the technology suggest battery life extension would be a good entry point.
Mobile phones and smart watches could see the solar film applied to the screens themselves. Although solar power for mobile phones has been considered previously, the latest advancements in transparent solar mean it is ideal for application to screens meaning the technology would be integrated more seamlessly into the device.
Windows could also see the clear solar treatment as a viable alternative to traditional roof and ground mounted panels. Ubiquitous explain that the coating would provide a level of transparency whilst still converting infrared and ultraviolet light, making it an ideal application.
Clear solar isn’t available to the public yet, but it’s only a matter of time before we see this incredible technology integrated into everyday products and design.
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