A team of researchers at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) has developed a new transparent solar cell that can generate electricity while allowing people to see through the cells. The cells can be used in windows to generate electricity without compromising the aesthetics. Using transparent solar cells in large buildings will definitely increase the deployment area and will thus increase generated power.
The transparent solar cells are made of near-infrared light-sensitive polymer. The polymer solar cells (PSC) use infrared light, instead of visible light, to produce electricity. The polymer or plastic photovoltaic cells are 70% transparent to the human eye.
The polymer solar cells use “silver nanowire composite films as the top transparent electrode.” The incorporation of polymer and silver nanowire enabled the production of polymer solar cells at lower cost. The transparent solar cells achieved 4% power conversion efficiency in tests.
Scientists are expecting that the polymer solar cells will see broader applications because of their low manufacturing cost and flexibility. The research lead, Professor Yang, said, “These results open the potential for visibly transparent polymer solar cells as add-on components of portable electronics, smart windows and building-integrated photovoltaics and in other applications.”
The findings are published in ACS Nano.