Solar Game-changer

How about: in the sun, cooler and free electricity? That sounds like a win for a tropical climate. Well, a breakthrough from UCLA sounds like it can offer that. From the Los Angeles Times we see a story about a new transparent (at visible light frequencies) solar film.

While this technology is currently only about half as efficient as regular PV cells, being just a film should make it inexpensive. Almost time for a patio roof that powers the stereo.

[A solar film] harvests light and turns it into electricity. In our case, we harvest only the infrared part,” says Professor Yang Yang at UCLA’s California Nanosystems Institute, who has headed up the research on the new photovoltaic polymer. Absorbing only the infrared light, he explains, means the material doesn’t have to be dark or black or blue, like most silicon photovoltaic panels. It can be clear. “We have developed a material that absorbs infrared and is all transparent to the visible light.”