Today’s Solutions: October 24, 2021

Solar panels placed on buildings do a great job of generating green energy for the structure, but imagine if every window in the building could absorb solar energy? This is the vision of researchers at the University of Michigan who are working to increase the efficiency of clear solar cells. 

The researchers have been successful in boosting the energy capacity of these clear cells. While they are still far from the efficiency of traditional solar panels, the team has increased their absorption capacity to 8.1 percent efficiency and 43.3 percent transparency using an organic, carbon-based design rather than silicon. 

Using less toxic materials than traditional solar cells, the team designed a coating that successfully captures infrared light while using an indium tin oxide electrode to make the windows nearly transparent. The only noticeable change from a regular glass window is a slightly green hue.

Modern buildings have windows with a coating to reflect light and heat to reduce cooling costs. Imagine if this coating was replaced with a solar absorption coating to power everything on the interior of the building, from lights to computers to the coffee maker. The potential applications go far beyond buildings, as well. The coating could be used to generate renewable energy from car windows and personal homes, too. 

The next steps for the team are to further increase the solar absorption potential of the windows and ensure the coating has a lifespan of at least ten years. Creating effective clear solar panels would mean the ability to integrate solar technology into structures themselves, essentially building green energy solutions into the components of our homes and buildings we already rely on. 

Solutions News Source Print this article
More of Today's Solutions

Algae wrapped in droplets improves efficiency of artificial photosynthesis

In our quest for the most sustainable, most renewable sources of energy, humanity continues to look to nature for inspiration. One of nature’s most efficient energy systems is photosynthesis, which is how plants convert sunlight, ... Read More

Evidence shows Vikings arrived in Americas nearly 500 years before Columbus

Researchers have known for a while that Vikings from Greenland founded the village of L’Anse aux Meadows in Newfoundland around the turn of the millennium, but now, a study published in Nature has finally pinpointed ... Read More

Egypt’s State Council swears-in the nation’s first female judges

Egypt’s State Council was established in 1946 and is an independent judicial body that deals with administrative disputes, disciplinary cases, appeals, reviews draft laws, decisions, and contracts that involve the government or a government-run body. ... Read More

Is group or individual work more productive? Here’s what science says

Are you a group project person or do you prefer to fly solo? We all have our work preferences, but what does science say about teamwork and productivity? A new study conducted by Quartz aims ... Read More

Wildlife filmaker provides a unique insight into the daily lives of bees

You may have seen bees flying around your backyard or local park, but it can be difficult for the naked human eye to grasp the full complexity of the lives of these pollinators. During the ... Read More