Engineers at the University of Michigan and other institutions have created a transparent new solar panel for windows in homes and businesses. In addition to being transparent, the new solar panels are highly efficient and have an estimated lifespan of 30 years. The group believes that the new solar panel could be used to create commercial buildings made entirely of solar panels.
If a multi-story glass facade is created using transparent solar panels, the entire building will be a powerhouse. Life expectancy is about three decades, but commercial buildings will be longer than they really are at the end of the day. Engineers researched carbon-based materials instead of silicone and created window-fitting panels.
Currently, the most efficient solar panels are made of silicone, but the material is not clear. Solar cells are used in two types of materials called “incomplete receptors” and “fuller receptors.” The first is stronger, but the second is less effective.
A typical solar cell created using non-fullerne receptors can achieve up to 18% efficiency near the silicon cell. However, they do not last long. In experiments on the project, researchers showed that the efficiency of the solar panel’s panels was reduced by 40 percent less than the original value in 12 weeks, without the use of methods to protect the material.
Engineers studied the defects in an unexpected solar cell and found ways to improve the design. The improvements include adding a zinc oxide layer to the sunscreen in front of the glass to block UV light. They also had to mix a thin layer of zinc oxide near the light cell, but they had to add a layer of carbon dioxide called IC-SAM to prevent the zinc oxide from damaging the light source. Finally, another layer of fluorescent-shaped fluoride was added to protect the light.
The module is currently 40% transparent, but the team believes they can improve that to 60 percent transparency in the future. Prepare their materials as well as liquid, and the team expects production costs to be lower. Engineers have decided that their transparent solar panels will maintain 80% efficiency in 30 years.