Recently, one of the most exciting developments in solar technology allows for see through solar power. Invisible solar cells for windows could allow homeowners to switch to solar without the hassle of obtaining building permits and/or approval from homeowners associations.
Researchers have helped bring us one step closer to this type of building integrated photovoltaics – PV power that blends right into building materials such as windows and roof shingles. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory and the organic solar company New Energy Technologies have developed invisible solar cells, applying unique conductive polymers onto a transparent substrate. The technology, called “plastic solar,” can be installed directly onto the surface of windows.
The technology for solar windows is still in its early stages. New Energy Technologies, developing the SolarWindow, has been encouraged about the future of the technology by its development of the largest transparent solar cell to date. But, until efficiencies are improved, there will not be a significant consumer market for see through solar power.
In the meantime, people who wish to make a switch to solar power will have to stick to traditional PV panels… and the building permits or HOA approvals that are required.