It is possible to produce electricity thanks to a new type of transparent and economical solar panels.
The project is the result of a collaboration between a team of scientists from the University of Milan-Bicocca and their American colleagues from Los Alamos National Laboratory (U.S.A) who together have studied an industrial prototype for a new transparent photovoltaic surface.
These are plates made of plastic, luminescent solar concentrators (LSC), made of special fluorescent nanoparticles, which are able to capture and concentrate the sun’s rays and transform the window into a real photovoltaic panel.
Sunlight, in fact, is converted into infrared rays that are then reflected in the panel, up to the edge of the same. Here is inserted a very thin strip formed of silicon cells that allow the semitransparent surface to function as a photovoltaic panel, whose characteristics are:
- an almost zero aesthetic impact, since the plexiglass panels possess a very high transparency (about 70-80%);
- a very high intrinsic stability;
- excellence performance;
- zero toxicity, thanks to the use of eco-friendly materials;
- low cost (around 60$ per m²).
The advantage of this system consists in the possibility of being integrated into double or triple glazed windows that normally equip the fixture, thus converting common windows into solar semi-transparent solar panels. It will therefore be possible to realize photovoltaic windows with zero aesthetic impact and able to develop more than 50W per square meter.
These panels could make a whole building photovoltaic, making it possible to create large and transparent photovoltaic windows, that can be integrated architecturally even in urban areas, without damaging the aesthetic or the livability inside buildings.
All as desired by the new European NZEB directives (Nearly Zero Energy Building) that would, by the end of 2020, have absolute autonomy, from the energy point of view, of all buildings (31/2010/UE and 2012/27/UE).