Gallery: Colored Solar Panels Don’t Need Direct Sunlight

solar panels, solar cells, photovoltaics, silicon, colored solar panels, nanotechnology, nanoparticles, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, GreenSun Energy, GreenSun

With normal solar cells, you need direct sunlight for them to generate power, and if the panels are at all shaded the efficiency drops significantly. A new type of solar cell, being developed in Jerusalem, is making huge waves because it can generate power from diffuse light using a specialized colored panel. They look a bit like colored plexi-glass but are actually panes made with fluorescent dyes and nanoparticle metals, and could possibly eclipse traditional solar panels in terms of price.

The smarter panel is being developed by GreenSun Energy, a Tel Aviv-based energy start-up. The new solar panels also use 80% less silicon than traditional solar cells. As the direct or indirect sunlight hits the panels, it diffuses across and the nanoparticles of metal direct and concentrate the sunlight to the edges where the silicon is.

So far, GreenSun has achieved a 12% efficiency rate with their panels and can produce them for $2.10/W compared to around $4.54/W for a conventional panel. They can achieve such lower costs because they use so much less silicon. Also in normal cells, there is some efficiency loss due to heat, which cannot be converted into energy. With GreenSun’s panels, the sunlight is diffused over the whole panel and the nanoparticles deliver light at the right energy to the edges where it can be converted, which means less efficiency loss due to heat.

GreenSun is still working hard on making their panels more efficient – 12% is good, but it’s not great compared to the world’s most efficient solar cell at 43%. They hope to achieve an efficiency of 20% and reduce the cost even further to $0.94/W. For those with aesthetic interests in the look of solar cells, these might be right up your alley. Imagine all the amazing designs that could be created from colored panels on the sides and tops of buildings.

+ GreenSun Energy

Via CleanTechnica, National Geographic & The Economist


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  1. Kyle February 28, 2011 at 2:03 pm

    What if you used a cylinder instead of a rectangular prism? Wouldn’t you use less silicon around the edges for the amount of surface area?
    The only problem would be is you wouldn’t be able to line it up as well on a grid and you’d be losing quite a bit of area, but it’s still more efficient then rectangular prisms without being on a grid.

  2. active-user February 2, 2011 at 12:00 pm

    is this a dye sensitized solar cell that using TiO2 as a semiconductor??

  3. stevewaugh October 3, 2009 at 7:30 am

    Solar Panel Savings Measurement Tool – The website allows us to check how much will we actually save by installing solar panels on our roof. To calculate the savings, the website considers the square feet area currently available to install solar panels, available sunlight and its intensity in every state (of USA), in each month of the year, and the energy (kWh) we are currently consuming

  4. Solar John September 19, 2009 at 11:04 pm

    These are amazing! Beautiful and efficient. I love them! I’m going to share this on my blog.

  5. justgreenhomes September 18, 2009 at 11:06 pm

    Incredible! This could be a huge jump forward for PV. With the ability to utilize indirect light and the variety of colors multiply the design possibilities.

  6. Benster September 18, 2009 at 8:45 pm

    AMazing concept.. I want to know more.. I am happy to spread the word!

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