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German Institute Integrates Highly-Efficient Solar Cells on Ski Helmets

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Look at the picture. What do you see? A helmet, you’ll say. However, for the more experienced, this is not just any kind of helmet, but one that integrates solar cells as well. This application is one of the many solar cells are expected to endorse by the end of this year.

The progress has to be granted to the Frauenhofer Institute for finding a way to frame the mono-crystalline silicon solar panels on complex surfaces. The solar cells also hold the advantage of being highly efficient (more than 20%) and independent – if one fails, the rest carry on to generate power without it.

To prove it’s viable, the Institute confirms the sale of Bluetooth-ready ski helmets able to power phones or MP3 players before the end of the year. Maybe just in time for Christmas!…

The application is especially appropriate for ski helmets, because low temperatures improve the solar cells’ parameters. One such “wonder” is expected to cost around 300 euros (or US$400).

Bikers can enjoy that as well, with a solar cell unit priced at less than 100 euros. So its applications are virtually endless: hard hats for rescue crews or construction workers, bicycle helmets, you name it. I think I’ll buy one as well, after all – they don’t need charging!

[via Treehugger]

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