The Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) which is part of the U. S. DOE has come up with a thin-film material that can be used in transparent solar panels. This breakthrough discovery may have far-reaching impacts.
According to the LANL, “The new material is a semiconducting polymer spiked with ‘fullerenes’ – soccer-ball-shaped, cage-like molecules composed of 60 carbon atoms. When applied to a surface under carefully controlled conditions, the material self-assembles in a repeating pattern of micron-sized hexagonal-shaped cells resembling a honeycomb. Researchers created reproducible films of up to several square millimeters in area.”
Now, this could have some impact on the residential solar panel market as homeowners would be able to put these solar panels integrated into their windows either reducing the size of the solar panels on the rooftop or eliminating them altogether depending upon the type of home.
But, what may have even a larger impact is within large cities that have a lot of buildings including skyscrapers with literally tons of glass windows. Industrial and commercial businesses use far more energy in the U. S. than do residences.
If large facilities were equipped with either window solar panels or traditional solar panels or both, this would mean a dramatic savings in energy consumption from the grid. Now, fast forward 10 years and imagine new homes and businesses being built with solar windows as a standard part of construction. The grid as we’ve come to know it will never be the same.