In a society that is increasingly conscious about the impact it has on the environment, the ultimate goal is to discover an efficient and renewable source of energy that won’t leave the planet reeling environmentally. Up to this point, solar energy has only been able to carry us so far towards our goals, but new research and advancements being made in labs and universities today could be the solution to tomorrow’s energy crisis. One of the most promising advancements in just the last couple years has been the creation of a transparent solar panel.
Window into the Future
A research team at the University of Michigan has created the world’s first truly transparent solar panel. Until now, most solar panels that have been touted as transparent have actually been partially tinted. The reason for this is that solar panels traditionally generate energy by converting absorbed protons into electrons–this process isn’t possible if light passes directly through the panel rather than interacting with it. So how did researchers work around this problem?
Transparent Luminescent Solar Concentrator
In order to achieve a truly clear solar panel, the Michigan State team had to devise a way for the panel to interact with sunlight without using traditional means of absorption. Their solution seems like something straight out of science fiction: the transparent luminescent solar concentrator or TLSC. The TLSC utilizes organic salts to absorb non-visible wavelengths of ultraviolet and infrared light. These are then converted into another wavelength of infrared that the solar cell can use as energy.
The potential applications for this type of solar energy are incredibly exciting. Imagine it: a city skyline shining in the afternoon light that will then power the surrounding homes in the evening. Or cars whose windshields and windows power them as they travel down the road. Dare we imagine charging our cell phones while we sit poolside soaking up the sun? Solar energy may be taking its first steps towards a brighter and more environmentally friendly future.
In the meantime, we all do what we can to save money and energy. There are a variety of ways to lessen your energy footprint, including the installation of solar panels on your home. If you are interested in learning more about solar energy, contact Green Road Solar in Sun Valley today. We have solar panels and installation options that can work with any home and budget.