Solar cells in style

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Solar cells maybe new but that doesn’t mean they should look ugly.

The Fraunhofer Institute in Munich, Germany, was able to develop semi-transparent solar modules that can incorporate organic dyes making them more stylish and decorative in appearance. The institute said any desired image can be integrated on the module using screen printing techniques.

“A glass facade made of this material can be given a decorative and promotionally effective design such as company logos, and delivers electricity into the bargain.”

The dye solar cell only has 4% efficiency rate so it can’t compete with traditional silicon cell. Long-term stability of the cell is also yet to be determined.

I can see architects, designers and marketing folks already in line for this one. I’m thinking of buying one (if I can afford it) for use as a decorative glass panel on my window. This way I can also charge my celphone and MP3 with it.

Speaking of being affordable, the Fraunhofer Institute said they are already a few steps short of developing industrial mass production of organic solar cells. Experts at the institute will present their mass production ideas at the Nanotech show in Tokyo on February 21-23.



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