First transparent solar technology invented at Michigan State

June 18, 2019

Researchers at Michigan State University have successfully created the first completely transparent solar panels.

These panels, which were announced earlier this year, can collect solar energy without affecting the transference of light, which makes it possible to install them on surfaces that would otherwise be unsuitable for collecting green energy.

For example, the panels can be used on cars, the windows of skyscrapers and on mobile electronics.

Concerned primarily with the transparency of the new solar technology, the MSU researchers created what’s known as a transparent luminescent solar concentrator, or TLSC, which can be placed over a pre-existing clear surface.

The organic molecules in the TLSC, invisible to the human eye, absorb light wavelengths that are then transferred into electricity via photovoltaic solar cells.

Currently, the researchers are focused on making the technology more durable and longer lasting.

Richard Lunt, assistant professor of chemical engineering and materials science at MSU’s College of Engineering, told The Open Mind that installing the technology would then be relatively cheap.

Transparent solar panels could be a workaround in Hoosier communities where homeowners’ associations ban rooftop panels. This could boost Indiana’s solar industry, which has been struggling throughout the last two years.

The industry has faced challenges following the passing of Senate Bill 309 in 2017, which removed net metering incentives for Hoosiers to convert to solar energy. Hoosiers will no longer receive compensation in the form of net metering as of July 2022. However, if Hoosiers install solar panels on their homes before the 2022 cut off, they can still receive net metering compensation through 2032. Those who began utilizing solar energy prior to 2018 will continue to receive compensation through 2047.

Once one of the fastest-growing in the country, Indiana’s solar industry dropped 93 percent in 2017, according to the Indy Star.

First transparent solar technology invented at Michigan State