Researchers envision paper solar cells providing cheap power

10/03/2015

Imagine a future in which solar cells are everywhere around you—on your window shades, in your laptop cover, in your clothing, perhaps even on a folded slip of paper that you carry in your pocket and take out when you want to charge your cell phone or other electronic gadget.

A solar cell printed on paper has so far been able to power an LCD clock display but researchers see its potential to boost the efficiency of much bigger things in the future, such as solar panels, roofs and windows. To do this, scientists across three universities in the U.S. and China have been developing a paper with ultrahigh transparency and optical haze that benefits solar cell performance, Phys.org reported.

Meanwhile, researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are developing a method to deposit photovoltaic cells on printer paper, newsprint, tissue paper and plastic food wrap, according to an MIT release. Eventually, researchers would like to see these paper solar cells tacked onto roofs or taped on windows to provide a local source of power in areas where it is not readily available. Recently, CNET listed the paper solar cell as one of “17 amazing things made out of paper.”

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