Engineers have developed a semi-transparent solar cell that might get us closer to a future where windows that double up as solar panels could transform both architecture and energy production.
Two square metres (around 22 square feet) of the next-gen perovskite solar cells (PSCs) would be enough to generate about as much electricity as a standard solar panel, according to the latest study – in the region of 140 watts per metre, if tinted to the same degree as current glazed commercial windows.
Solar cell windows are something researchers have been working on for years, but as yet no one has really hit the sweet spot in terms of efficiency, stability and cost. The team behind the new project says they are closer than ever to doing just that.
“Rooftop solar has a conversion efficiency of between 15 and 20 percent,” says materials chemist Jacek Jasieniak, from Monash University in Australia. “The semi-transparent cells have a conversion efficiency of 17 percent, while still transmitting more than 10 percent of the incoming light, so they are right in the zone.”
“It’s long been a dream to have windows that generate electricity, and now that looks possible.”
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