The mix of materials used in the panel absorbs a variety of wavelengths of light, turning ambient lighting into a power source
Spotted: A team of scientists from China and Sweden’s Linköping University have created a new material that generates electricity from ambient lighting.
The solar cell an organic photovoltaic (OPV) is made using a mixture of carbon-based components, allowing it to absorb wavelengths of light commonly found indoors.
Because the molecules are dissolved in ink and printed on thin sheets of plastic, the solar cells are exceptionally flexible and lightweight. This makes them ideal for indoor use as they can be deployed on a range of surfaces – in addition to the usual applications on walls and windows.
Previously, OPVs have been less efficient than silicon solar cells in converting light to electricity. In tests, the researchers recorded an efficiency rate of up to 26 per cent for light at an intensity of 1000 lux. For light of intensity between 200 and 1000 lux, the efficiency rate was 23 per cent. All of which bodes well for further development.
Solar panels are becoming easier to use in a wider range of climates and spaces, with Springwise spotting panels that work in the rain as well as transparent panels that are usable on windows and other surfaces.