Cambridge (UK) based solar startup Polysolar is going beyond this by creating panels that can scavenge electricity from flat surfaces on the side of buildings and in poor angles. They’re even developing transparent photovoltaic cells that can replace windows, Wired reports.
This thin-film PV technology relies on novel manufacturing methods. To make the materials, the active material that converts sun rays to power is deposited in a thin, naturally translucent layer on a conductive glass substrate. This layer is then covered by another layer of glass. These translucent sheets of photovoltaic material operate even under only 10 percent of sunlight, allowing the sheets to harvest the sun’s powers over longer periods of time compared to traditional cells. The sheets also help in maintaining interior temperatures of buildings, another energy-saving feature.
The first generation of 7mm-thick, 24kg panels were installed in the forecourts of two Sainsbury’s petrol stations and a canopy at the Barbican Centre in London. Its latest installations include a transparent solar bus shelter in the center of London’s Canary Wharf, which gives buildings in the area the option to adopt the panels.