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Power Science Technology

UCLA Develops Transparent, Electricity-Generating, Solar Cell Windows 163

Posted by samzenpus
from the look-at-the-energy dept.
Elliot Chang writes "A team from UCLA has developed a new transparent solar cell that has the ability to generate electricity while still allowing people to see outside. In short, they've created a solar power-generating window! Described as 'a new kind of polymer solar cell (PSC)' that produces energy by absorbing mainly infrared light instead of traditional visible light, the photoactive plastic cell is nearly 70% transparent to the human eye — so you can look through it like a traditional window."
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UCLA Develops Transparent, Electricity-Generating, Solar Cell Windows

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  • Re:70% ? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Chuckstar (799005) on Monday July 23, 2012 @11:52AM (#40737227)

    Transparency is merely how much of the light gets through. What you are talking about is translucency (i.e. scattering). There's no indication from the article that there is significant scattering. It would just look like you had tinting on the window.

  • Re:70% ? (Score:4, Informative)

    by rhsanborn (773855) on Monday July 23, 2012 @11:54AM (#40737265)
    There is a photo in the article. It's more like tinting your windows.
  • XSUNX Research (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 23, 2012 @11:55AM (#40737273)

    Disclosure: I am not an investor or employee.

    The company XSUNX has been doing this for a few years with Copper Indium Gallium Diselenide (as a competitor to Silicon and which theoretically is supposed to be better for the environment), generating thin film solar power that you can see through. Their first generation was a smoky amber glass with slight distortion; their current generation film is more like a tinted window.

  • Re:70% ? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Spectre (1685) on Monday July 23, 2012 @11:56AM (#40737293)

    Transparency is merely how much of the light gets through. What you are talking about is translucency (i.e. scattering). There's no indication from the article that there is significant scattering. It would just look like you had tinting on the window.

    And not very much tinting, either. 70% transparent would just look like glass, if you didn't have something to compare it to. Even 90% tinting (10% transparent), as long as it is reasonably uniform at different color transmissions, doesn't interfere with vision at all ... sunglasses block more light than that!

  • Re:70% ? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Rei (128717) on Monday July 23, 2012 @12:30PM (#40737681) Homepage

    Given that untinted window glass is in the 80-90% range, 70% isn't bad at all.

    Remember that you don't perceive brightness linearly. Its several orders of magnitude brighter outside on a sunny day than it is in a very well-lit room inside, but it doesn't feel that way. Think of how many light bulbs you'd need to have to match 1000W/m^2, factoring in also that even fluorescent and LED bulbs lose the lion's share of their energy as heat.

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