Monday, 20 October 2014

Solar printing

Solar panels are the future of energy, and the latest are printable solar panels, developed by Australian solar power scientists. Which are one step closer to making available a cheaper and faster way to print solar cells onto plastic. Senior research scientist Dr Fiona Scholes said the technology was almost at the commercialisation stage. 

The consortium behind the project have been working on printing solar cells since 2007. Dr Scholes said the team used commercial printers that were modified to take solar ink. The way in which it looks and works is quite different to conventional solar. It can be made to be semitransparent - we can use it for a tinted windows scenario. This allows for cells to be embedded into windows, effectively tinting them, to generate electricity. They can be printed in smaller sizes to be used to charge devices such as smartphones and laptops. 
Any plastic surface could be substituted for solar panels. We print them onto plastic in more or less the same way we print our plastic banknotes, connecting our solar panels is as simple as connecting a battery. The team is now working on a solar spray coating. We would like to improve the efficiency of solar panels - we need to develop solar inks to generate more energy from sunlight. We are confident we can push the technology further in the years to come.  Solar can also be printed onto steel panels, imagine the time when the windows and roofs of boats are actually solar generators.

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