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Thread: Highly transparent solar cells could be boon for green energy

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    Highly transparent solar cells could be boon for green energy

    Harvesting only invisible light, the cells are currently only approx 5 per cent efficient.
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    Re: Highly transparent solar cells could be boon for green energy

    Well, interesting, but .....

    - cost?
    - replacement or add-on?

    If replacement, then personally, having just spent thousands replacing windows throughout my home, I'm NOT ripping it out again.

    If add-on, then "highly" transparent sounds to me the way an advertising exec tries to sell "not completely" transparent. If so, the degree of non-transparancy would have to be extremely small, to the point of visually undetectable, before I'd be prepared to stick 'em all over my expensive new windows.

    Finally, and still personally, this comes down to cost, and to whether they can pay back capital outlay promptly enough. As it is, my entire annual electricity bill is modest, and a good chunk of it occurs either at night (not much light about) or via a very small number of high load uses, like the oven for a Sunday roast, or the tumble dryer. Solar cells typically, for the space I have available, can't provide peak demand loads or overnight, without huge and unviable further expense in battery storage.

    I support any and all developments in current and new forms of solar as self-evidently 'a good thing', but for me, it MUST be cost-effective and, so far, isn't.
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    Re: Highly transparent solar cells could be boon for green energy

    I expect that if it turns IR into electricity, then it will have a cooling effect on the room the window is on.

    So considering an office building, where this would be used initially, and assuming that they get it to 10% efficiency, every square metre of window can generate a peak of 100W, and also save on air conditioning within the building.

    The Shard has 56,000 square metres of surface area, although only 1/4 is going to get sun all day round (and another 1/4 will get morning sun, and another quarter afternoon sun, but I'll ignore them unless this film is cheap), which is 14,000 square metres, or 1.4MW of power generation at peak.

    Compare this to The Shard's integrated gas power plant:

    "This combined heat and power (CHP) plant will provide both 1.131MW of electricity and 1.199MW of hot water at high efficiency (85.3% total, 41.4% electrical) to the surrounding area."

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    Re: Highly transparent solar cells could be boon for green energy

    Certainly part of the dislike of traditional renewable energy solutions is that people don't want to look at them. Integrating something like this in such a way that doesn't add anything to an otherwise standard building appearance has I think great potential.
    Though as said cost needs to improve a lot to take on fossil fuel alternatives which in terms of value simply don't have competition from renewables in my opinion.

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    Re: Highly transparent solar cells could be boon for green energy

    Interesting - I've heard that solar cells tend to suck up everything with a wavelength less than some critical value, so engineering a solar band pass filter is impressive.

    Quote Originally Posted by sykobee View Post
    I expect that if it turns IR into electricity, then it will have a cooling effect on the room the window is on.

    So considering an office building, where this would be used initially, and assuming that they get it to 10% efficiency, every square metre of window can generate a peak of 100W, and also save on air conditioning within the building.

    The Shard has 56,000 square metres of surface area, although only 1/4 is going to get sun all day round (and another 1/4 will get morning sun, and another quarter afternoon sun, but I'll ignore them unless this film is cheap), which is 14,000 square metres, or 1.4MW of power generation at peak.

    Compare this to The Shard's integrated gas power plant:

    "This combined heat and power (CHP) plant will provide both 1.131MW of electricity and 1.199MW of hot water at high efficiency (85.3% total, 41.4% electrical) to the surrounding area."
    Bingo. This competes with IR-reflective films, and unlike them can generate profit.

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    Re: Highly transparent solar cells could be boon for green energy

    Quote Originally Posted by sykobee View Post

    The Shard has 56,000 square metres of surface area, although only 1/4 is going to get sun all day round (and another 1/4 will get morning sun, and another quarter afternoon sun, but I'll ignore them unless this film is cheap), which is 14,000 square metres, or 1.4MW of power generation at peak.
    It will be roughly a third as solar PV cells don't need direct sunlight to generate an output. And it doesn't have to be either/or, the solar panels could be in addition to the CHP output.
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    Re: Highly transparent solar cells could be boon for green energy

    Quote Originally Posted by Saracen View Post
    Well, interesting, but .....

    - cost?
    - replacement or add-on?

    If replacement, then personally, having just spent thousands replacing windows throughout my home, I'm NOT ripping it out again.

    If add-on, then "highly" transparent sounds to me the way an advertising exec tries to sell "not completely" transparent. If so, the degree of non-transparancy would have to be extremely small, to the point of visually undetectable, before I'd be prepared to stick 'em all over my expensive new windows.

    Finally, and still personally, this comes down to cost, and to whether they can pay back capital outlay promptly enough. As it is, my entire annual electricity bill is modest, and a good chunk of it occurs either at night (not much light about) or via a very small number of high load uses, like the oven for a Sunday roast, or the tumble dryer. Solar cells typically, for the space I have available, can't provide peak demand loads or overnight, without huge and unviable further expense in battery storage.

    I support any and all developments in current and new forms of solar as self-evidently 'a good thing', but for me, it MUST be cost-effective and, so far, isn't.
    Those are not really the "buts", I mean your home may not be the ideal place to first put these things into use. Also you can't really be asking about cost this early, even as this forum is all about computers we know early development hardware costs a lot but settles down. If new public buildings with a lot of glass use this and make considerable energy from it, then wouldn't this be a step forward?

    Also your windows are not completely transparent either. Again though, this isn't for your home, but places where nobody will mind the 1-5% loss (guessing) of light as there's enough windows that there's already too much sun light. Based on the pictures, it really looks normal or similar to an average window.

    I don't know what support you're providing, but if by your comments alone, it doesn't seem like you're supporting.
    Last edited by Savas; 26-10-2017 at 02:21 PM.

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    Re: Highly transparent solar cells could be boon for green energy

    Quote Originally Posted by sykobee View Post
    I expect that if it turns IR into electricity, then it will have a cooling effect on the room the window is on.
    Interesting, so not much use on a greenhouse then?

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    Re: Highly transparent solar cells could be boon for green energy

    Quote Originally Posted by Savas View Post
    I don't know what support you're providing, but if by your comments alone, it doesn't seem like you're supporting.
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    Re: Highly transparent solar cells could be boon for green energy

    Quote Originally Posted by Saracen View Post
    Well, interesting, but .....

    - cost?
    - replacement or add-on?

    I support any and all developments in current and new forms of solar as self-evidently 'a good thing', but for me, it MUST be cost-effective and, so far, isn't.
    The problem I see with this new technology is that a novelty like this type of solar panel can never compete with the efficiency of thoroughly developed technologies like multi and monocrystaline solar panels. What I find very interesting however is the following assumption of Mark Tyson. "The team have developed and tuned organic molecules that pick up just the ultraviolet and the near-infrared wavelengths before converting this energy into electricity". If the material is organic it fits right in the category of organic cells which are reported to have a maximum efficiency of 11.5%.

    The researcher explains, that the cells are operating at 5% efficiency and this is only 1/3th of their efficiency capacity. If they are able to get the efficiency up to 15% there will still be a big gap between these panels and the ones being installed on roofs, solar farms and floathing solar farms.

    My point being: Great looks don't make for a great product, yet!

    If they manage to get the efficiency up to +10%, they will create a market for themselves with businesses and people who want solar panels for windows.

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    Re: Highly transparent solar cells could be boon for green energy

    I wonder how long before phones and wearable stuff like AR glasses can get this tech - it might be quite useful to trickle charger such devices.


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