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Transparent solar technology arrives

It could collect as much energy as the solar panels on the roofs.


The solar materials transparent applicable to windows represent a massive untapped source of energy, as could reap as much energy as the largest solar units, as is commonly installed on the roofs of buildings. The solar technology is completely transparent.

A team of scientists led by engineering researchers at Michigan State University (USA) says in a study published in the journal Nature Energy the benefits of the widespread use of transparent solar applications that could meet the electricity demand of many households and companies and drastically reduce the use of fossil fuels.

Highly transparent solar cells represent the wave of the future for new solar applications. We analyze their potential and demonstrate that by harvesting only invisible light, these devices can provide a potential for electricity generation similar to that of the solar roof, while providing additional functionality to improve the efficiency of mobile buildings, cars and electronic devices, “he says. Richard Lunt, leader of the work.


Precisely these scientists were pioneers in the development of a luminescent transparent solar concentrator that, when placed on a window, creates solar energy without interrupting the view. The material is thin, resembling plastic, and can be used on buildings, car windows, mobile phones or other devices with a clear surface.

The solar collecting system uses organic molecules developed by Lunt and his team to absorb invisible wavelengths of sunlight. It is possible to “adjust” these materials to capture only the wavelengths of the near infrared and ultraviolet that they turn into electricity.

Taking into account that the percentage of electricity produced in the world through solar energy is quite small, this and other innovative and cost-effective technologies will help us to separate from the energy consumption of fossil fuels.

If we think about the amount of square meters of glass space in the cities, using this transparent plastic would have the potential to supply about 40% of the energy demand alone in the United States. “The complementary deployment of both technologies (transparent solar technology + roof solar panels) could approach 100% of the demand if we also improve energy storage,” says Lunt.

Although transparent solar technologies will never be more efficient in converting solar energy to electricity than used so far, they can join together to achieve a larger energy- gathering surface .

At this time, transparent solar technologies are barely + 5% efficient, but the authors say that this figure is far from its realistic global potential.

“Traditional solar applications have been actively researched for more than five decades; however, we have only been working on these transparent solar cells for about five years. Low-cost, wide-spread solar adoption on small and large surfaces that were previously inaccessible, “Lunt says.

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