Imagine windows powering homes, office buildings, and even airplanes. That fantasy might not be far from reality thanks to the latest breakthroughs in solar cell technology. Researchers from the Institute of Photonic Sciences (ICFO) have developed an organic solar cell with an increased level of transparency and solar-to-electricity conversion efficiency that could turn entire buildings into powerful energy generators. Their research was recently published in the journal Nature Photonics .

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Image © ICFO

Organic Photovoltaic (OPV) cells are gaining interest as a potential path to spreading solar energy to small electronics, appliances and other everyday power applications that are currently not available with silicon-based commercial solar panels limited by placement and size. The low production cost is the reason for renewed interest in a technology that has been around for about 30 years.

“ICFO’s discovery opens the path for innovation to other industrial applications of transparent photovoltaics. In the midterm we expect to reach the extremely high transparencies and efficiencies needed to power up devices such as displays, tablets, smart phones, etc…,” said study leader Professor Jordi Martorell.

Researchers are not only making advancements in transparent solar cell technology, but dye-based solar cells as well, ushering in a brand new clean tech era that could revolutionize the energy industry.


 Lead image via UCLA