Soon you would see solar curtains lining your windowsills and fashion models flaunting solar attire as Tokyo-based Ideal Star conceives a way of infusing threads with solar cells that could be used to make these curtains and dresses. The core of the prototype, a 5cm long and 0.8mm diameter cell, is made from a polymer material and is coated by a fullerene electrode layer.
The only area of concern, as of now, is the length, and the company is working to improve on it. The flexible solar threads have an energy conversion efficiency of 3 percent, and it is expandable up to 10 percent. Since the production of these solar threads won’t require expensive semiconductor manufacturing equipment, the inexpensive technology will be commercialized in the next five years. Currently, Ideal Star proposes to apply sheets made from the solar threads on rice paddies.