In late March of this year, German solar company, Heliatek, unveiled a 40 percent transparent organic solar cell. The solar panels will be ideal to be used nearly anywhere glass is used, think windows of companies and homes to power the entire building, glass roofs of cars to extend their electric range infinitely, and even your smart phone constantly recharging. The possibilities with this new technology would be limitless.
images courtesy of Heliatek and PR Newswire
While the future looks bright for this innovative technology, there is still much work to be done in getting these new transparent solar panels up to par by way of efficiency standards. These latest cells have achieved 7 percent efficiency, compared to the same company's leading opaque organic cell that achieves 12 percent efficiency, and is still quite some distance behind the top-performing standard photovoltaic cell at 44.7 percent efficiency, (made by another German company, Fraunhofer.)
Standard cells are typically made from silicon, but the production of the organic film used in these new cells is a far more labor-intensive process. The organic film is based on small molecules that are developed and synthesized in a lab in Germany. For now, the elaborate, (and expensive,) process keeps the market for this new technology very small. However, with time, as the technology develops, a wider market is sure to rise. The solar market in general is an exciting one to watch, showing 15 percent growth last year.
Source: Triple Pundit