Clear Gain

Window-Like Solar Cells Could Power 40 Percent of U.S. Needs




SVIATLANA SHEINAtterstock.com

Solar energy is now the cheapest form of new energy in dozens of countries, with record-setting solar farms being built worldwide. Researchers have been investigating ways to make transparent solar panels that resemble glass that could be used as window panels at the same time as converting the light that shines on them into electricity.

“Highly transparent solar cells represent the wave of the future for new solar applications,” explains materials scientist Richard Lunt, Ph.D., from Michigan State University. “We analyzed their potential and show that by harvesting only invisible light, these devices have the potential of generating a similar amount of electricity as rooftop solar while providing additional functionality to enhance the efficiency of buildings, automobiles and mobile electronics.”

As reported in Nature Energy, his team has developed a transparent, luminescent, solar concentrator that looks like clear glass, covered in small, organic molecules adept at capturing only ultraviolet and near-infrared wavelengths of light. The visible light that enables human vision isn’t obstructed, so we can see through the cell. If scaled up to cover the billions of square feet of glass surfaces throughout the U.S., it could potentially supply about 40 percent of our country’s energy needs.


This article appears in the April 2018 issue of Natural Awakenings.

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Related Content

Gardening Asanas

Overdoing garden work can produce aches and pains, but by integrating yoga positions while planting and weeding, we can emerge pain-free after hours of being on our knees and bending.

Indigenous Wisdom

Indigenous elders from around the world meet together to pass down four sacred gifts of wisdom we would do well to heed.

Nature’s Remedies

Creatures in the wild ranging from microbes to elephants cope with parasites, pests and pain using natural substances; it all suggests why our preserving the natural world is good for us, too.

Healthy Climate, Healthy People

As the Earth slowly heats up, we’re being affected by rising allergens, disaster-related trauma and the increase in insects carrying dangerous diseases.

Whole Grains Help Us Eat Less

When overweight Danes exchanged refined grain products such as white bread and pasta for whole-grain equivalents, they tended to feel full sooner, eat less, lose weight and have less inflammation.

Add your comment: