Researchers have unveiled a new type of 100% transparent solar panel that could turn smartphone screens, windows or other transparent surfaces into clean energy generators.
The Web Vice motherboard Michigan State University has designed a glass solar concentrator that can be integrated into any transparent surface, from your home window to your smartphone screen, generating power without blocking your view.
Related: Any surface can be a solar panel thanks to perovskite.
The new technology was developed by a team from the College of Engineering at MSU. Its roots are small organic molecules capable of absorbing certain wavelengths of sunlight invisible to the human eye.
Once absorbed, the light waves are trapped and guided to the edges of the plastic solar concentrator where the photovoltaic cells transform them into electricity. Motherboard points out that this is one of the great advantages of this technology over conventional solar methods; Luminescent solar concentrators can collect sunlight over a larger area without having to follow the sun. They are also cheaper because the materials cost less.
The big disadvantage of this technology now is that the efficiency is 1% – compared to 25% of traditional solar panels. But MSU researchers have a target of more than 5% when their new panels are fully optimized.