Sporadic complaints concerning solar panels are that they are not necessarily attractive. However, this may be about to change. Researchers created an innovative new transparent solar cell; this means that windows can have the capacity of producing electricity while they are allowing people to see through it.
This interesting development is described by the Los Angeles team in the University of California as a new type of PSC (PCP stands for Polymer Solar Cell) that is 70% transparent to the human eye and produces energy by absorbing mostly infrared light; they made this device recurring to a photo-active plastic capable of transforming infrared light into electrical energy.
UCLA professor of materials science and engineering and study leader, Yang Yang said that this development would open the potential visibility of transparent PSC used on smart-windows, portable electronics, and building-integrated photovoltaic among other applications. According to Yang, international interest is increasing in this PSC. Yang Yang said that their new PSCs can be produced in high quantities at a low cost, these polymer solar cells are made from plastic-like materials which make them more flexible and light weighted.
As a result of their advantages over other competitors’ solar cell technologies these PSCs are attracting greater attention. Scientists are investigating Polymer Solar Cells because of their potential in making unique advances for a wide range of applications; these applications would be possible by high-performance visibility transparent PV (Photovoltaic) devices; including integrated photovoltaic chargers for portable electronic equipment and building-integrated PV devices.
In the past many attempts to demonstrate visibility of transparent or semitransparent PSCs have been made; nevertheless, such demonstrations resulted in weak device efficiency or even low visible-light transparency, all this because the polymeric photovoltaic materials and efficient transparent conductors were not correctly installed in the device’s design and fabrication.
Using silver nanowire composite films and the incorporation of near-infrared light sensitive polymers, a team of UCLA researchers from the California NonSystems Institute, the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science a the UCLA Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry have demonstrated a solution and high performance concerning transparent PSCs.
The near-infrared photoactive polymer is less sensitive to visible light. However, it absorbs more near-infrared light; corresponding solar cells transparency and performance in the visible wavelength region.
Another important advance is the replacement of the opaque metal electrode used in the past by a new transparent conductor made of a mixture of titanium dioxide nanoparticles and silver nanowire. This new electrode will allow solar cells to be produced economically by solution processing.
Four percent power-conversion efficiency for solution –processed and visibility transparent PSCs has been accomplished with such a combination.
Chairman in NanoSystems Sciences, Fred Kavli and CNSI director, Paul S. Weiss said that they are very enthusiastic because of this new development of transparent solar cells, which was applied to their recent advances in transparent conducting windows (published in ACS Nano) to fabricate such devices.