Paper-thin printed solar cells could change the way we live

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The printed solar panel technology has been significantly improved during the last few years:

  • the energy efficiency has increased from 3% to 20%.
  • prices have dropped from around $40 per watt in 1977 to $0.74 per watt in 2013

Yet the solar panels are a bulky structure that is expensive to transport and to produce. As a result, it is extremely difficult to implement solar technology.

Printed solar cells could offer an alternative to this challenge:

  • A 10×10 solar cell film is enough to generate as much as 10-50 watts per square meter.
  • Printed solar cells are paper-thin, lightweight and extremely inexpensive to produce.
  • The cells are flexible, making their transportation effortless

The printer required to generate these cells is quite expensive and requires a large capital investment. Additionally, the cells have been shown to be vulnerable to moisture and may cause lead contamination should the cell break.

After the technology is perfected, the Printed solar cells will have the potential to change people’s life: In the developing countries, the 1.3 billion who are currently living without any electricity at all could finally have access to electric power. In the developed countries, solar panel could finally become part of people’s daily life: Clothes, accessories and umbrella made with solar panel to bring back energy home. Phone cover with solar panel integrated in. Car with a Solar panel roof…

It is a huge step towards implementing a clean, renewable energy source worldwide. This is a great news for the future of our planet.

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20 replies »

  1. 10 watts per square meter.
    20% is 2 watts

    Average phone is 0.01 square meters.
    You get 0.02 watts per hour on phone.
    Phones nowadays use 2-3 watts per hour.

    Idk about you, but seems like a waste of money, I rather get myself battery bank instead of waiting days for sunlight so I could use the phone for 1 hour.

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  2. I own floatingvillas.us and have been wanting to make my floating villas off the grid with solar power. I’d love to test run your panels and purchase systems for each Villa! Love renewable energy!

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  3. “Clothes, accessories and umbrella made with solar panel to bring back energy home” In other words people in developing countries will be wearing paper clothes and accessories. Well, the idea sounds great but I am afraid despite the exaggerated electricity poverty that the West imagine exist in developing countries we are not too desperate to an extent of soaking in sweat in the name of storing energy. I mean we just like you westerners, we use umbrellas to cover ourselves from the rain and not to store batteries.

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  4. Ok the only thing it will bring is money to cell phone companies as the people in those “undeveloped ” countries have lived that way for 1000s of years and have no desire to have running water, indoor toilets,electricity, furniture etc. They do care about having a cell phone though. These countries are run by despots who will not help the people except to keep them under foot while they get rich and eat like kings and queens (ie Mugabe in Zimbabwe) quit trying to help people who have no clue and don’t want to be helped

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  5. Policy makers have to be careful about the circulation of the product, because chip products tend to malfunction – so most people will go for – use and throw – practice, and these will be used in nice landscapes where people go for tranquilizing short trips – long tours too. May be I am talking about pollution again …sorry friends .. But I vote for clean energy. Developing countries like India – should be introduced to this after serious plannings because this is cheap and energy from it is free…

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  6. When building materials like siding and roofing, come with affordable solar cells attached, then they will be adopted by many. The catch is that current panels are extensive and require significant labor to install.
    This technology could be a game changer, as gluing thin solar panels to building materials & adding a protective clear cover, makes them viable for wide spread use.

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  7. Just another thin-film PV solar panel, which is encouraging – however the problem remains the efficiency and cost stats you’ve mentioned is industry wide and hinges largely on world economics w/ China and other economic powers –

    How about your own efficiency, testing and reliability data to provide proof that this particular thin film out of all the others that came before this is more efficient, the approximate life and reliability and some facts with respect to real costs to produce with the printing process today and future targets to make it even feasible in the market?

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