Printable Solar Cells Set To Reshape Building And Power
Solar energy is clean, sustainable power. Just a fraction of the sun’s energy could power the world. Now scientists are developing new and innovative ways to create solar cells which can make them cheaper, easier to make, and more versatile to use.
In the UK, Swansea University’s Active Building Centre powers itself using some of the latest innovations in solar energy.
New designs in solar panels are being developed which can be printed, which essentially means the structure of buildings could be changed, with printed panels covering them to provide power.
In Australia, the CSIRO are also on board, involved in a consortium who are developing new materials and processes to produce thin, flexible and semi-transparent solar cells based on printable ‘solar inks’.
The inks are then deposited onto flexible plastic films using processes including micro-gravure coating, slot-die coating and screen printing.
These panels are flexible, light and thin enough to cover most surfaces.
They can then be integrated into windows, window furnishings, tents, even consumer packaging.
They’re portable enough to provide immediate power for remote outback locations and developing communities.
On the consortium’s pilot-scale, roll-to-roll printing lines have fabricated 30cm-wide flexible solar modules that can be cut to length.