Researchers develop see-through solar panel for windows

Scientists in the Michigan State University (MSU) have developed a transparent solar panel that can be used as windows in homes and offices to generate electricity.

The clear solar panels they said could be used to tap the sun’s power in buildings, cars and even tech devices.

According to them, there are 5 to 7 billion square meters of glass surfaces in the United States which if converted to these clear panels, could provide approximately 40 per cent of the country’s current energy demands.

Besides making new power-generating window panels, the technology could also be used to retrofit existing windows, they explained.

How it work, the MSU team said they used organic molecules to create a thin material similar to plastic that captures the sun’s ultraviolet and near-infrared light and moves to the edge of the window panel, where a solar cell converts it to energy.

“Highly transparent solar cells represent the wave of the future for new solar applications,” said lead engineering researcher, Richard Lunt.

But while the transparent panels are far less efficient than normal solar panels, the fact that buildings have a lot more surface area where they could be deployed makes its potentials to generate electricity a lot interesting.

Lunt said on this: “Ultimately, this technology offers a promising route to inexpensive, widespread solar adoption on small and large surfaces that were previously inaccessible.”