Researchers at the University of Michigan are paving the way to attractive, fully transparent solar panels. In the future, these glass panels may be able to replace office building windows so that solar energy can be generated in aesthetically pleasing ways. Though this innovation is still very new, meaning it is not yet practical or affordable, it shows promise for the progress of the solar power industry.
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Michigan University researchers have devised what looks like the world’s first fully transparent solar cell. Think of all of those tall glass buildings; wouldn’t it be nice if all that incoming solar energy was harvested somehow? Likewise, why not let your smartphone charge up a bit while it’s taking a tan. Of course this isn’t a new idea, but previous attempts are rather unattractive because the compromise makes windows too shady or dark. After all, the purpose of a window is to let light in, not make energy. Ideally, you’d want them harness energy as well, complementary. The new system devised at MU is exciting because it offers exactly this: energy generation, with no compromise in visibility.