Today’s Solutions: December 03, 2021

There’s beauty in solar panels in that they capture light from our precious sun and convert it into electricity. With that said, the solar panel itself is not necessarily beautiful. To give solar panels an aesthetic boost, designer Marjan van Aubel has created a set of stained glass-style solar panels that will form part of the Dutch pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai.

Made from polyethylene terephthalate, or PET, these lightweight plastic modules can simultaneously generate solar power and let tinted daylight pass through. At first glance, the colorful solar panels look like a modern take on the stained glass often seen in churches.

So, why does this matter? According to Van Aubel, attractive sustainable technology is the way to effect change. “We’re not going to change the world with ugly things,” she told Dezeen.

Van Aubel has been developing solar panels for several years. They are created using light-absorbing organic dyes that cover tiny particles of titanium dioxide nanomaterial to turn sunlight into electricity. The low-cost, flexible solar cells are applied to a translucent surface like a sticker.

The expo will be a chance to show off the potential of this technology to some of the 25 million visitors projected to attend the event, which has been moved to 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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