Transparent solar cells that could power skyscrapers

in hardware on (#WX4Z)
story imageResearch has boosted solar panel efficiency over time. But some scientists argue that to truly take advantage of the sun's power, we also need to expand the amount of real estate that can be outfitted with solar, by making cells that are nearly or entirely see-through, i-e transparent cells.

A Silicon Valley start-up named "Ubiquitous Energy" has succeeded in creating such transparent solar cells. ClearView is a transparent solar cell that can coat any surface, including displays and windows, to harvest ambient light and generate electricity. Ubiquitous Energy has redesigned the solar cell to selectively transmit light visible to the human eye while absorbing only the ultraviolet and infrared light and converting it into electricity.
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That doesn't seem to mesh with their goal of completely eliminating the need for batteries in small consumer gadgets and even smart phones, as LED lighting doesn't emit ultraviolet or infrared, and there isn't always a window nearby. Still a potentially revolutionary technology in other applications, but unfortunately it’s in the very, very early stages of development.

Re: Or (Score: 2, Interesting)

by on 2015-12-08 14:55 (#X1J7)

Building cities outwards necessarily either requires removing farmland or destroying ecosystems, which is far and wide the largest contributor to extinctions. Since a significant goal of lower emissions is to save the environment and all its inhabitants, urban sprawl goes directly against this.

Building out fiber to remote areas doesn't help either as jobs continue to demand the worker be there during work hours. Look at what Yahoo did for an example.

I'm not saying building up is the answer either, as skyscrapers aren't exactly environmentally friendly either. If the answer were to be to retrofit existing buildings, and the process to build the transparent solar cells was sustainable and economical, then I'm all for it. Unfortunately, we've all heard the spiel before, and yet years have gone by and no one is building buildings with integrated solar windows. I'm not holding my breath that it starts now.
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