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Transparent Solar Panels: Are They the Future of Energy Production?

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The discovery of solar panels as an energy-saving resource for residential and commercial electricity has been a powerful force of change for environmental efforts throughout the modern world. There has been a recent technological advancement in the field of solar panels that many companies hope will catapult the industry towards entirely new levels of clean energy production. At Kosmos Solar in Grand Prairie, TX, our team of experienced solar panel installation specialists is excited to be a part of this new, efficient technology.

The development of transparent solar technology represents the next level of versatility and usability for solar power systems. In combination with traditional roof models, transparent solar modules have the potential to meet or even exceed the current electricity needs in the US. This recently developed technology has the potential to drastically reduce the need for fossil fuels in many parts of the world, including throughout Texas.

Turn Windows and Glass Into a Source of Energy

Imagine a world where we could produce electricity on the surface of our windows, smartphones, car windshields, or the glass of an office building. What sounds like a distant dream is coming true thanks to the development of transparent solar panels. Conventional solar modules, especially photovoltaic modules, absorb sunlight and convert photons (particles of sunlight) into usable energy. The difficulty in making solar panels transparent is that sunlight shines through a transparent material. This means that the process that produces electricity in solar cells cannot begin because no light is absorbed. Recent advances in research have created two interesting efforts to overcome this obstacle: a partially transparent and fully transparent panel.

Partially Transparent Panels

The German company Heliatek GmbH, has developed a partially transparent solar module that absorbs 60% of sunlight. The performance of these modules is 7.2%, compared to 12% efficiency for conventional PV modules from the same manufacturer. Efficiency is reduced because only 60% of the light is absorbed by the plate, while the remaining 40% is transmitted through the plate. Heliatek shows how solar energy production can be regulated by balancing the transmission and absorption of light. Tinted glass has been used in office buildings with large glass surfaces facing south to reduce the amount of sunlight for quite some time. In such situations, partially transparent solar modules offer great economic potential.

Fully Transparent Solar Panels

Although partially transparent solar modules are suitable for the case mentioned above, they are not ideal for other situations such as clean windows or touch screens. A breakthrough at Michigan State University, where scientists made fully transparent solar panels that look like normal glass, can meet this need. By definition, fully transparent solar panels cannot absorb visible sunlight. However, researchers from Michigan State University have used organic salts that absorb light with certain invisible wavelengths, such as ultraviolet light, to produce electricity. Then this light is converted and the panel material moves this energy to the edge where a strip of photovoltaic solar cells converts it into electricity.

The efficiency of a fully transparent solar module is currently 1% with an estimated potential of 5%. Compared to an average efficiency of 12 – 15% for conventional solar modules, 5% or 7.2% efficiency for fully and partially transparent modules may be lower, but still an incredible step forward in terms of clean energy production. Also, the performance of solar modules is not the only means of measuring the worth of solar panels. In practice, this only means that less efficient panels must be larger than more efficient panels to produce the same amount of electricity. Because transparent solar panels can be integrated into building windows, lower efficiency can more than compensate for the potential space coverage in both residential and business areas.

Check with Kosmos Solar in Grand Prairie, Texas for The Latest Information

If you’ve been thinking about adding a solar panel power system to your home or business, there’s never been a better time than right now to get started. With the continued advancement of science and technology, solar panel systems are better than ever before, and with the progress being made on transparent and semi-transparent solar power systems, the future of the industry is brighter than ever before. To find out more about solar panel installation services, or to have a conversation about your needs and expectations with a trained professional, don’t hesitate to contact us today to get started.

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