MIT start up Ubiquitous Energy will soon bring to market the first generation of truly transparent solar panels. The firm uses term Transparent Luminescent Solar Concentrator to describe this new approach which uses the the infusion of organic salts into the panel which absorb the non-visible infrared and ultra-violet light. Previous attempts to create transparent solar panels have invariably been tinted or colored so these represent the first clear solar cells. The only noticeable distinction are the black strips along the edges of the panel and the wavelengths of non-visible light are reflected toward the edge where these photovoltaic strips convert the light into electricity.
The current prototypes have a mere 1 percent efficiency but the firm expects they will soon achieve 5 percent. Because visible light provides the greatest amount of energy, it’s unlikely these panels will rival the close to 20 percent efficiency of conventional solar panels but, by virtue fact that they could be installed or deployed in almost any situation where conventional glass is utilized make for a numerous practical uses including windows, phones, pads, e-readers etc.
When thinking of the surface area of skyscrapers we can see how huge amounts of vertical surface area not currently used for solar harvesting in urban areas globally can suddenly become an oasis for electrical generation. Ubiquitous Energy will be demonstrating its new transparent panel technology which it’s trademarked under the name Clear View Power on June 2nd and 3rd at Display Week 2015, an international symposium and exhibition to be held at the San Jose Convention Center. No time frame has been given as to when they will bring their technology to market but Ubiquitous has indicated they will initially key in on the mobile device, hand held and tablet market. We look forward to seeing this new, potentially game changing technology both commercially available and put to practical use soon.
Article written by Dave Mazovick for Design Engine May 29th, 2015