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The Huge Promise of Transparent Solar Cells—Turning the World’s Glass Surfaces Into Solar Panels

Credit: estherpoon / Shutterstock.com

Sunlight is everywhere, but so far our efforts to harvest its energy have been restricted to solar farms and rooftop panels. A new analysis shows that transparent solar technologies that can be applied to windows, display screens, and cars could supply 40 percent of energy demand in the US.

Transparent and semi-transparent light harvesting materials have only started to emerge in the last five or six years, but there are already some commercial examples, and experimental demonstrations are reaching impressive performance, according to a recent review in Nature.

There’s still some way to go, as current transparent solar technologies are only at about a third of their realistic potential, with power conversion efficiencies in the region of 5 percent compared to around 15 to 20 percent for standard silicon photovoltaic panels. But there are a variety of different approaches to creating transparent and semi-transparent solar cells, all making solid progress.

Read the full article on transparent solar technologies here.

By Edd Gent for Singularity Hub.

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