The latest news on Solar Power has the potential to revolutionize the use, availability, and manufacturing costs of solar panels. What we have at the moment are big, bulky, breakable photovoltaics. What if there were easy to spray on solar cells which are light weight, flexible and could come in any form and size, on a roof, a wall or even a window? This is no sci-fi, its soon reality.
Spray on solar cells are true breakthrough.
Right now, most pv-cells are made with either monocrystalline or polycrystalline silicon which is effective but costly (solar energy facts). Today’s solar panels are expensive to install, and they work most effectively on sunny days.
The alternative is making solar cells using miniscule light-sensitive materials known as colloidal quantum dots (short CQDs). These CQDs could be printed onto a flexible film and could cover all kinds of weirdly shaped surfaces that are exposed to sunlight, from patio furniture to car roofs and airplane wings.
The new system called “sprayLD” was invented by Dr. Illan Kramer and his colleagues at The Edward S. Rogers Sr. Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering, University of Toronto, Canada. Useful resources: https://www.ece.utoronto.ca/news/new-technique-offers-spray-power/
The idea of using quantum dots as a path to high efficiency popped up in 1990 already and have been referred to as artificial atoms.
This technology also takes the infrared portion of the sun’s rays into account. As this accounts for more than half of all solar energy it will lead to increasing solar cell efficiency.
These thin film solar cells could literally be woven into every aspect of our daily life, from our clothes to our roads and has the potential to boost the applications of solar power exponentially in the coming years.
Researchers Think They’re Getting Closer to Making Spray-On Solar Cells a Reality (Bloomberg News March, 2017).
At the moment, CQDs are brought onto surfaces through batch processing, which is an inefficient, slow and expensive approach to chemical coating. These new spray on solar cells technology will make the shift from expensive batch processing to a cost effective roll-to-roll application.