The Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) which is part of the U. S. DOEhas come up with a thin-film material that can be used in transparentsolar panels. This breakthrough discovery may have far-reaching impacts.
According to the LANL, “The new material is a semiconducting polymer spiked with ‘fullerenes’ – soccer-ball-shaped, cage-like molecules composed of 60 carbon atoms.When applied to a surface under carefully controlled conditions, thematerial self-assembles in a repeating pattern of micron-sizedhexagonal-shaped cells resembling a honeycomb. Researchers createdreproducible films of up to several square millimeters in area.”
Now, this could have some impact on the residential solar panelmarket as homeowners would be able to put these solar panels integratedinto their windows either reducing the size of the solar panels on therooftop or eliminating them altogether depending upon the type of home.
But, what may have even a larger impact is within large cities thathave a lot of buildings including skyscrapers with literally tons ofglass windows. Industrial and commercial businesses use far more energyin the U. S. than do residences.
If large facilities were equipped with either window solar panels ortraditional solar panels or both, this would mean a dramatic savings inenergy consumption from the grid. Now, fast forward 10 years and imagine new homes and businesses being built with solar windows as a standardpart of construction. The grid as we’ve come to know it will never bethe same.