Jae Yong Lee, Electrical Engineering PhD Student, tests a colored solar cell. Image credit: Joseph Xu, Michigan Engineering Communications & Marketing.
Transparent, color solar cells fuse energy, beauty
Colorful, see-through solar cells invented at the University of Michigan could one day be used to make stained-glass windows, decorations and even shades that turn the sun’s energy into electricity.
The cells, believed to be the first semi-transparent, colored photovoltaics, have the potential to vastly broaden the use of the energy source, says Jay Guo, a professor of electrical engineering and computer science, mechanical engineering, and macromolecular science and engineering at U-M. Guo is lead author of a paper about the work newly published online in Scientific Reports.
"I think this offers a very different way of utilizing solar technology rather than concentrating it in a small area," he said. "Today, solar panels are black and the only place you can put them on a building is the rooftop. And the rooftop of a typical high-rise is so tiny.
"We think we can make solar panels more beautiful—any color a designer wants. And we can vastly deploy these panels, even indoors."