In urban areas, there are a number of tall buildings which have so many window panes on it. Imagine a scenario where all the windows are able to produce solar power with the windows still serving their purpose of letting in ample amount of sunshine.
Transparent solar panels have made such cool innovations possible. A niche market for such a product spurred years of research that has resulted in the development of various transparent solar panel technologies.
In one such transparent solar panel technology, rather than putting up new solar panels, liquid coatings can be applied on windows to produce transparent thin films. And this processed glass surface can produce electricity.
Although many of these so-called transparent solar panels were not actually transparent, there are newer technologies that actually is transparent to a great extent. Rather than absorbing the visible sunlight, they absorb the infrared and UV portion of sunlight to produce 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.
Unlike conventional solar panels which are to be pointed directly at the sun, Polysolar panels, however, can be used on walls rather tilted surfaces. Essentially, they are good at absorbing low-level, non-directional ambient light. Currently, they cost at 250 pounds per square meter.
This is a cool technology and possible applications include mobile phone screens and skyscrapers.
Read more about transparent solar panels here.