Windows can become solar panels

Traditional solar PV systems use modularly connected solar cells, the units can be large and for buildings with high energy needs they can be too large for the roof space available. Thankfully there is a new solution; a thin layer of quantum dots over the glass can make it into a solar panel.

 

quantumdotglass
Photo credit: Los Alamos National Laboratory

 

Vicor Klimmov (nanotechnology engineer at Los Alamos National Laboratory) says that using the already existing glass “simplifies the device; it makes it less expensive,”.

Vicor Klimmov’s method, detailed in Nature, uses nanometer-scale semiconductors called quantum dots, which can harness the energy from the sun’s rays. Applying the technology is relatively easy, a gel containing the quantum dots and a polymer is poured onto the glass and spread thinl, the glass can then be placed in a circuit to charge a battery.

Currently the technology has reached efficiencies of 1.9%, this proof of concept however, will allow further research to be carried out into improving on this and Klimmov believes that efficiencies as low as 6% will make the technology commercially viable.

 

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