A team of researchers at Michigan State University has developed a new type of solar concentrator that when placed over a window creates solar energy while allowing people to actually see through the window. It could turn windows and even cellphone screens into solar-power generators.
For years scientists have tried to produce energy harvested from solar cells made from luminescent plastic-like materials, but the technologies have performed poorly. The energy production was inefficient and the materials were highly coloured.
The emitted infrared energy is converted to electricity by very thin photovoltic material that is embedded in strips. The solar panel transparent “concoction” containing the small organic molecules is placed on glass.
Transparent solar technologies are also in the works at research hubs including at Oxford University in England, where scientists are developing a product that could be used in windows. At team at the University of California at Los Angeles has developed a transparent film that can be affixed to buildings, car sunroofs and tablets to generate electricity.