Everything I need to know about paint-able solar cells

Paint -on solar cells

A breakthrough technology is at its nascent stage in solar energy arena. As of now, we use material panels as solar power cells on our rooftops. A new technology is to replace these hard solar panels with spray-on solar power cells. Yes, you just need to paint your house’s walls or rooftops with the nano-particle inks. The paint-able plastic solar cells can amazingly generate five times more energy than the traditional solar panels. Not only that, the new solar technology can harvest power even if the sun is hidden under clouds. It is because the solar cells can absorb infrared rays from the sun.


Paint-able solar cells by University of South Florida

Paint-able solar cell

A team of researchers at South Florida University has developed solar cells that can be painted on your walls and rooftops. Instead of erecting the solid and expensive solar panels, you can now just paint your house with the spray-on solar cells. They are made up of organic polymer and each cell is just a millimeter long. The researchers harvested 8V of electricity from 20 such paint-able solar cells.

Spark Solar Australia’s Solar Cell Manufacturing Project

Spark Solar Australia’s Solar Cell

Spark Solar, an Austrian solar power firm, has developed a similar spray-on photovoltaic energy system. It will help people harvest sun power from a kind of paint-like substance that can be sprayed on walls, rooftops and car bodies. As a result of Spark Solar’s innovative technology, the Australian Federal Government proposed a $60 million high-tech solar cell factory for the firm. It might be the largest factory of its kind in the southern hemisphere.

Spray-on solar cells from EnSol

Paintable thin-film photovoltaic cell by EnSol

Norwegian solar power firm EnSol last year revealed that its researchers have developed spray-on solar cells that can generate power from sun. The ultra thin-film solar panel can be painted on walls, rooftops and aircrafts to produce energy. The solar technology makes use of metallic nano-particles to reap the sun power. It is thinner than human hair, and so painting on any surfaces may not be a tough task. But glasses painted with the photovoltaic paint will turn a bit gloomier.

Paint-on solar cells printed like newspaper

Nano-ink processed Solar Cells by University of Texas

Brian Korgel, a chemical engineer at the University of Texas is working to reduce the price of manufacturing paint-able solar cells. Scientists recently found out the breakthrough technology of printing solar cells as newspapers with nano-particle inks. Mr. Korgel is working to bring down the price to one-tenth of their existing production costs.

The benefits:

Paint-able solar cells will indeed bring a revolution in alternative energy arena. Today, we put relatively expensive and uncomfortable solar panels on roofs to produce alternative energy. The new spray-on solar cells will reduce the cost as well and increase the comfort in setting up solar power technology. It can be painted on all surfaces where sunlight is available. You can spray the ultra-thin solar cells on your wall, rooftop, vehicle’s body, aircraft and ships.

According to the researchers, nano-particle inks can generate more energy than traditional solar powers. The South Florida University scientists say such solar cells will be five times efficient than the conventional solar panels. Moreover, many more people will go for green power, thanks to the simplicity in establishment of solar cells. Electronic vehicles can reap the required power while moving.

The lowdown

The technology is still in its infancy stage. Scientists are just working to develop it as a full-fledged alternative green energy option. The global financial crisis lately slowed down the researches in the area. Many researchers are finding it hard to obtain enough funds required for the innovative experiments.

The impact

Impact of this ground-breaking solar power option will be momentous. More people will show interest to build up solar power systems in their houses, offices and vehicles since the technology goes more economical and cost-effective. Spray-on solar cells’ capability to produce energy even when the sun is hidden under clouds removes the biggest challenge in solar power technology. Many other common challenges that prevent one from erecting solar panels will be eliminated with the advent of new technology.

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