What is a Transparent Solar Cell? And What are Its Advantages Over Conventional Cells?


This question is part of the Super Big Solar Panel FAQ from Solar Mango, where expert answers to over 100 important questions on solar panels are provided.


A conventional solar cell is something that is not transparent – you cannot see through it.

Of late, there has been significant research into transparent, completely see-through solar cells. This means such cells can be used as windows because it can let in light while generating power!

In 2014, there was an interesting effort from the Michigan State University.

To achieve a truly transparent solar cell, the Michigan State team created this thing called a transparent luminescent solar concentrator (TLSC), which employs organic salts to absorb wavelengths of light that are already invisible to the human eye. Steering clear of the fundamental challenges of creating a transparent photovoltaic cell allowed the researchers to harness the power of infrared and ultraviolet light.

This clear solar cell uses organic salts to absorb invisible light waves.

Read Solar Mango’s Innovation Blog Post on Transparent Solar Panels HERE


According to reports, this is the first solar cell that is entirely clear. Other attempts were based on photovoltaic technology that does not allow for a clear cell.

The organic salts in the cells absorb specific nonvisible wavelengths of ultraviolet and infrared light. The emitted light is guided to the edge of plastic where thin strips of conventional photovoltaic solar cell convert it into electricity.

More recently in 2016, the UK firm Polysolar has come up with a transparent solar cell that operates at a much higher efficiency.  In Polysolar’s case, thin-film photovoltaic cells are deposited as a naturally translucent layer onto the glass before another glass sheet is laminated on top. Once embedded, they allow the panels to work at a much higher efficiency at varying angles than regular solar panels and can generate solar power at low levels of sunlight.

Source: Transparent Solar Cell from Solar Mango Dictionary

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3 thoughts on “What is a Transparent Solar Cell? And What are Its Advantages Over Conventional Cells?

  1. Pingback: How do Monocrystalline Solar Panels Compare with Polycrystalline Solar Panels? - Solar Mango – #1 guide for solar

  2. Pingback: How can transparent solar panels be a big boost to solar on tall buildings? - Solar Mango – #1 guide for solar

  3. Damon Hess

    The material set used in Michigan State’s TLSC is related to the transparent photovoltaic (TPV) coating being commercialized at Ubiquitous Energy. Both deliver high levels of transparency, but so far the TPV has attracted more attention from the glass industry due to its higher efficiency rates.

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