Spray-On Solar Cells Illuminate New Power-Harvesting Possibilities

Harnessing the power of the sun to fuel your electrical needs is an excellent plan, but one that for too many people is impeded by cost issues. Now, a new method of mass-producing solar cells may be a cost-effective way to bring the sunshine into your power lines.

Using a spray-on technique similar to how one would paint a car, solar cells can now be applied to a variety of surfaces. The precision of the spray method allows for little waste, lowering costs and enabling the technology to reach a wider collection net than regular solar panels.

According to factor-tech.com, the new spray-on cells are created from perovskite, a low-cost alternative to the popular silicon cells. Although new to the solar market, perovskite is proving its worth.

Professor David Lidzey, lead researcher from The University of Sheffield Department of Physics and Astronomy, remarked, “There is a lot of excitement around perovskite-based photovoltaics...Remarkably, this class of material offers the potential to combine the high performance of mature solar cell technologies with the low embedded energy costs of production of organic photovoltaics.”

The perovskite cells dominate organic solar cells' certified efficiency, operating at up to 19% as opposed to organic cells' 10%, and closing in on silicon's 25% certified efficiency. Fabrication-wise, the organic cells' light-absorbing layer, when replaced with perovskite, showed a definite boost in energy. While experiments with the perovskite cells currently have them running at 11% efficiency, scientists believe with more time and research the number will escalate.

Solar suits, solar sneakers, and more may follow as energy abundance becomes as easy to harness as a walk in the sunlight.
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