As part of G8 Summit in Hokkaido, Japan, Sharp will be showcasing some futuristic new technologies in the Zero Emission House. Amongst the future-forward prototypes to be shown: a 26-inch solar-powered LCD television that can be powered by a thin-film photovoltaic panel! Sharp’s plan is to distribute the TV and solar module to areas that have no easy access to grid power.

The triple-junction thin film solar cell module is the cost effective panel to date that is being mass produced by Sharp. The panel can be produced to be made semi-transparent, to be as windows, and is manufactured to not require rare or scarce metals. The television itself is an ultra low-powered LCD screen that uses less than a third of the energy required by conventional LCDs. The area required to power this television would be similar to that of the TV screen, something which is not possible with current TVs.

So, is a TV really the most practical use for a new solar panel? Initially, we would’ve thought that people living off the grid with no access to electricity might want that electricity for something else — something more useful like lighting or cooking. Still, we have to admit, an ultra-low powered LCD is certainly a positive development.

+ Sharp to Exhibit at Hokkaido