Turning Ordinary Glass Surfaces into Solar Electric Generators
Solar Electric Generators (TeK-THinK) – A Michigan State University research team has developed a transparent solar panel capable of capturing solar radiation in the non visible spectrum namely ultraviolet wavelengths. Professor Richard Lunt, MSU assistant professor who headed the research, believes that the panel can be employed in a wide variety of settings.
According to Lunt:
It can be used on tall buildings with lots of windows or any kind of mobile device that demands high aesthetic quality like a phone or e-reader. Ultimately we want to make solar harvesting surfaces that you do not even know are there.
The solar concentrator then convert the absorbed ultraviolet light into another colorless infrared wavelength and sends it to the edge of the concentrator, where photovoltaic solar cells convert light energy to electricity.
Video: Turning Ordinary Glass Surfaces into Solar Electric Generators
The research is in the early stages right now and the TLSC is performing at around 1% efficiency, but the MSU team believes it can be optimized to around 5%. Currently, non-transparent luminescent concentrators perform can achieve 7% efficiency, at best.
This technology is very interesting as it may be able to turn ordinary glass surfaces into electricity producers. Things like home and office windows or even your smart phone may become small generators for clean power.