Researchers at New Energy Technologies have recently developed transparent solar cells which can be sprayed onto any type of glass. They successfully removed all metals from the solar cell and replaced them with an environmentally-friendly see-thru compound.
“The ability to spray solar coatings directly onto glass follows on the heels of our recent breakthrough which replaced visibility-blocking metal with environmentally-friendly see-thru compounds, and marks an important advance in the development of our see-thru glass windows capable of generating electricity,” said Meetesh V. Patel, CEO and president of New Energy Technologies.
Traditional solar cells are mostly made of silicon wafers, a brittle and expensive material. The low cost thin film requires both a high-temperature production and high-vacuum environment, techniques that unlike a spray-on solution are much slower. We can say that these ultra-small solar cells are the world’s smallest in use (they are less than 1/4 the size of a grain of rice).
What is amazing at these transparent solar cells is that they generate electric energy not only from the visible light spectrum found in sunlight but also from artificial light, such as fluorescent lighting. According to the Energy Information Administration, there are nearly 5 million commercial buildings in America and more than 80 million single detached homes that could use these thin film solar cells.