A team of scientists at Michigan State University declared this week the creation of a luminescent transparent solar concentrator which has the potential to turn windows and cell phone screens into solar-power generating equipment.
This technology can revolutionize the way we use solar power. It cans enable entire skyscrapers one day to generate solar power without obstructing light or the view. This new material works by absorbing light from the invisible spectrum which is ultraviolet and near infrared. After absorbing the light it re-emits it in the infrared. This infrared light can be channeled to the edge of the transparent surface, where thin strips of photovoltaic cells can generate the necessary power.
Since, infrared and ultraviolet are not visible to us; the new material remains transparent even during concentrating sunlight. Previously, the solar concentrators developed didn’t emit light in the invisible spectrum, which resulted in a stained-glass like effect.
According to a lead lab researcher, nobody wants to sit behind colored glass, comparing such an experience to working in a disco. However, this new technology looks promising and needs to be further developed to make it more efficient.
Researchers stated that the solar conversion efficiency is approximately one percent, which can be increased to five percent. The researchers noted that the highest efficiency conversion achieved using a luminescent non-transparent solar concentrator amounts to seven percent.
Earlier this year, there were rumors that Apple’s iPhone 6 will come equipped with a different type of solar screen. However, a Forbes contributor stated that this technology is not quite ready yet.