Could Thin-Film Solar Cells Cover Whole Buildings?
Using solar energy to power our day-to-day lives just got a whole lot easier—and a lot less noticeable. According to Norwegian company EnSol AS, as well as Professor Chris Binns of Leicester University, new technology in the form of a transparent thin-film solar coating for windows and buildings might be hitting the market within the next five years.
The idea behind concept is to implement solar cells into the manufacturing process of windows and other building materials. Windows would only be given a slight tint, and the thin-film would be virtually invisible once added to buildings themselves. Binns believes that the same technology could be applied to car windows to help charge vehicle batteries.
This cutting-edge material is made up of metal nanoparticles embedded in a transparent composite matrix. Though EnSol has prototypes currently available, they plan to continue working on the product until they get the cell efficiency up to 20% or greater.
What’s the best part of this breakthrough? Since the film can be coated onto large areas, it will cost significantly less than other solar technologies. This idea could potentially transform the way we harness solar power.
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