Invisible Solar Cells Could Turn Every Window Into an Energy Source

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In recent years, the efficiency of solar panels has skyrocketed as the price has been dropping rapidly.  Solar is here to stay, and it is becoming very clear that sustainable and renewable energy sources will one day replace gas, oil and coal.  It really is common sense…if you prefer breathing fresh clean air over air thick with smog and pollutants, you should support renewable energy.  If you prefer drinking water and eating food not tainted with carcinogenic pollutants, you should support the transition to renewable energy.

Ok, so we know efficiency is up and price is down, so what is holding back the solar industry from really taking over the energy sector?  One major problem is people find solar panels to be bit of an eyesore.  We at Green Forwards News don’t see it that way, as we find pollution more of an eyesore than a few panels bolted on a residential roof.

One company has an ingenious solution to this apparent aesthetic problem.  French company SunPartner Technologies has developed an ultra-thin and transparent solar panel that really has unlimited possibilities for residential and commercial use.  Imagine if the windows on you home, or the windows on a huge city sky scraper had the ability to harness the incoming sunlight and use it to power the electronics inside.

window2The patented design is called the Wysips Glass, and addition to being a great option for new construction, it can be retrofitted to existing buildings.  The glass retains 70% to 90% of it’s transparency and can be tinted in any color, and all functions that require energy can be plugged into the glass without affecting aesthetics.  The actual material is only 0.1 mm thick, is flexible, and fits onto all surfaces, transparent or opaque.

The Wysips glass is also being tested to be used as the glass that covers the touch screens on mobile devices.  The though is that the phone may be able to recharge simply by being exposed to sunlight.  No more scrambling to find your charger when the battery is low.

The Wysips technology is based on assembling a thin, photovoltaic surface with a network of micro-lenses that make the cells invisible to the naked eye.  The photovoltaic cells activate from the moment they are exposed to light, whether natural or artificial, and charge the battery or power the equipment they are connected to.

We may someday see skyscrapers that capture sunlight with every window pane and power the building in a completely sustainable way.  The people of the near future may not need to argue over the aesthetics of solar panels, as they will be completely invisible.   



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