Gallery: Paint on Solar Power!


Installing solar panels on the roof of every new building in the world would go a long way towards solving our energy needs, but as we all know, solar panels are costly and often difficult to install. But what if the solar panel was an integral part of every building? What if solar cells could be painted on building products? Well, according to a team from Swansea University this type of technology will soon be coming to a hardware store near you.

The Swansea Solar Paint project is led by Dave Worsley, who, together with his team, were researching ways to make make steel last longer. By chance that they started to focus on the degradation of paints in steel surfaces, when they realized that their research could lead them to develop a new way of getting energy from the sun.

The idea is to coat every piece of steel cladding with a solar cell paint. As steel is passed through the rollers multiple coatings of of the solar cell system are applied to it. Based on the preliminary research, the materials that are being applied are suited to capturing low level solar radiation, which means that they should work just as well in areas where the sun doesn’t directly shine on them.

It’s not the first project which aims to develop paint that can convert solar energy into electricity, longtime readers will probably remember this project, from a few months ago. What is interesting about this one, is that the process, if successful, can be scaled massively and quickly. Think about the possibilities of having every roof clad with a durable, electricity-generating steel finish!

If the Solar Paint project gets off the ground, it is expected that they would be able to press around 30 to 40m2 a minute. This may not sound like much, but put it into perspective: according to Dr. Worsley, if all the steel cladding produced by just one manufacturer was produced to be energy generating, at a very conservative energy exchange rate of 5%, it would be the equivalent of 50 wind farms, or roughly 4,500 gigawatts of electricity, per year. If you ask us, this is a project that might be worth looking into.

+ Colorful idea sparks renewable electricity from paint @ Swansea University

+ Paint on Solar Panels on Inhabitat 2007


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  1. rohit vhaval January 14, 2013 at 2:21 am

    plz give me procdure of solar paint system

  2. justin mckenzie June 30, 2011 at 8:48 am

    hi i am a registered painter and decorator in mandurah western australia i have about 20 yrs experience in the application of protective coatings i am very interested in this technology and if it could be utilized for existing commercial/residential dwellings i also have experience in electronic engineering i have a basic to intermediate level cert 4 qualification in electrotechnology from swan tafe/college as that is a hobby of mine would that basic knowledge also be of any relevence to paint on solar panels if it is at all possible i would love some more info on this product kind regards justin mckenzie.

  3. WATCOINC January 6, 2011 at 7:26 am

    We are very interested in this product. We will building over 5 million homes in West Africa now on the drawing boards. This would make our job faster and more afforable for the poor people in Africa.
    We can also can sign up as building with your product as on trail basis to see if the product will be good in the weather in Africa. We can try without discourse to your company aginst charges or danages against your company. We could act as product sampleing and will sign any agreement to this affect.

    chet whiteside

  4. DCS ECO Solutions October 17, 2010 at 12:03 am

    I am in the misted of producing recycled plastic housing and we are very interested in paint on solar cells as I have been keeping a close eye on this tec so please let me know when we will be able to use this on our homes please keep me in formed

  5. Rudytaveras March 2, 2009 at 4:33 pm

    I have been hearing of this technology for some time know, but can any one tell me when will it be in the market for sale?. How can I be one of the first distributor? please send me an email I am Truly interested.

  6. AlanPHunter October 21, 2008 at 5:01 am

    Interesting development in the use of renewable energy and the ways in which these alternatives are discovered. This and nano-technology provide hope that the grip of coal-based electricity will one day be loosened.

  7. posidain September 22, 2008 at 7:12 pm

    How would i aquire some of this solar paint… I was hoping to do a science fair project comparing the effectivness of solar paint versus a solar pannel? No doubt the pannel would be better but which would be more economical?

  8. Inhabitat » 12 Ne... April 7, 2008 at 5:48 am

    […] in their property-tax bills. Enabling these kinds of individual applications for solar thermal and solar photovoltaic, as well as tagging funds for large-scale industrial projects, is definitely making the renewable […]

  9. Paint Your Home For Pow... April 1, 2008 at 4:34 am

    […] —-end—- Thanks: [Inhabitat] […]

  10. Three Existing Technolo... March 30, 2008 at 10:38 pm

    […] coming up, including ultra-thin films that can be applied to surfaces like a sticker — even a paint-on photovoltaic! The push in investment has made solar competitive with its dirty step-sister, coal in cost per […]

  11. Panouri solare realizat... March 28, 2008 at 7:08 am

    […] Sursa: Inhabitat […]

  12. Solar Energy Watch | M ... March 27, 2008 at 4:14 pm

    […] From the UK, a group from Swansea, while researching paint degradation on steel surfaces, has uncovered a process to create ’solar panel paint’.  When applied to steel, it is able to convert five percent of solar energy into electricity.  Although a low conversion factor, when considering the application on the large, steel-cladding-rich surface area of commercial buildings, the invention looks like a very good alternative to solar panels.  Project leader Dave Worsley believes just one manufacturer, using the paint on all of their steel cladding, could generate the same amount of energy as 50 wind farms. (Sorry no details as to wattage)  Anyway, this will definitely be something to follow, especially if anyone of you environmentally-friendly readers is planning on building commercial buildings anytime soon. [Gizmodo > Inhabitat] […]

  13. Michael March 27, 2008 at 3:27 pm

    NANOSOLAR – lot of words, no supplies, seems to be similar to most of the NON-STANDARD PV solar products suppliers

  14. Jay Gaulard Blog »... March 27, 2008 at 3:02 pm

    […] But given how customers who have upgraded from XP have struggled with driver and application incompatibilities, it’s no surprise that many are gun-shy of the latest update. Paint on Solar Power! […]

  15.   Scientist's New ... March 27, 2008 at 2:32 pm

    […] Admittedly it’s more “paint your warehouse” than “paint your home”, since few of us have steel walls or roofs on our abode, but it’s still pretty nifty. The technology in the Swansea Solar Paint project is apparently easily scalable, so it may only be a matter of moment until it’s being cranked out by the square yard, saving the environment and generating the 1.21 gigawatts of ability needed to send you Back to the Fut— … well, you get the point. [Inhabitat] […]

  16. quiet fat woman. «... March 26, 2008 at 5:34 pm

    […] 26, 2008 SOLAR PAINT!!!!! Posted by maeniel Filed in […]

  17. bartman March 26, 2008 at 12:12 pm

    Yet more people who don\’t understand the difference between a GW and a GWh.

    4500 GW is 4.5 times the total generating capacity of the entire United States generation fleet.

    4500 GW-h per year equals about 500 MW of continuous power, as big as a typical single coal plant, or about 150 of the big offshore (3.5 MW) wind turbines.

    It\’s sad that a press release from an engineering college can\’t even get the units right.

  18. » Paint on Solar ... March 26, 2008 at 3:54 am

    […] are suited to capturing low level solar radiation, which means that they should work just as well read more | digg […]

  19. greennetizen March 26, 2008 at 1:09 am

    I know there are a lot of environmental concerns associated with the mining operations involved in obtaining cadmium for thin film solar technology. Is this the application of thin film solar technology that relies on cadmium?

  20. hugo March 25, 2008 at 5:34 am

    Great innovation but not the first time I heart from these kind of projects. I think is wrong if he says that researchers combine their focus globaly on emerging technologies. There are a lot of different research labs (2 or 3 here in the Netherlands) that try to invent the wheel by themselves. I think that if this knowledge is globaly and publicly shared with all involved labs, we already would be painting our houses with (probably still quite expensive) energy paint. And our houses would be insulated with high insulation glass covered in see-through solar cells.

    So commercialisation (and people trying to get rich of their concept) prevents sensible development!

  21. ' + title + ' - ' + bas... March 24, 2008 at 3:21 pm

    […] I love the idea! To read the entire article, click here…. […]

  22. bravenewleaf March 24, 2008 at 3:02 pm

    I certainly hope that some of these solar \\\”paint-on\\\” and \\\”print-out\\\” innovations come to pass. When every outdoor surface has the potential to capture energy, we can truly evolve into a clean-energy society. It will also change the look of future cities as well. Has anyone found any cool renderings of the solar cities of the future with panels painted on everywhere?

  23. March 24, 2008 at 8:59 am

    Now that green is finally “IN”, it’s nice to see the combined focus of researchers around the globe coming out with various invocations what seems almost on a daily basis. This ruly is a technology worth looking forward to.

    Another hoping is that Google backed Nanosolar can deliver on their .99c/Watt, thin-film solar panels, and start mass producing them. Apparently they have shipped their first batches. (Not to consumers mind you)

    Exciting times…

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