Transparent Solar Panels - Promising New Energy Sources Wapolabs


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Transparent solar panels – new technology leading the energy field

Transparent solar panels energy is the future

Mineral resources will soon run out due to humankind’s intense exploitation in this century alone. According to estimates by the Millennium Alliance for Humanity and the Biosphere (MAHB), the world’s oil reserves will run out in just 40 years, natural gas will run out by 2060, and coal will follow in 30 years after.

This is not a very positive future for our descendants, especially when the future will become increasingly difficult as the world’s population increases and the energy demand will also increase accordingly. Scientists have now been researching and developing environmentally friendly renewable energy technologies, which use little or no fossil fuels.

New energy generation uses natural materials, such as wind, water, and solar energy. Wapolabs will introduce a type of energy that has been researched, developed, and is starting to be applied in many suitable locations around the world, using the latest technologies of the solar branch – transparent solar panels.

What are transparent solar panels and how it works?

They are transparent plastic panels specially designed to absorb energy from sunlight, thereby creating operating energy for a building or structure in which these glass panels are installed. This is said to be a solar energy extraction technology with high efficiency and aesthetics because traditional solar cells have an unsightly appearance and block the view of people.

Transparent solar panel
Transparent solar panel

Developed by a team of research engineers from Michigan State University (MSU), glass solar panels allow photons to pass through complex physical and chemical technologies, allowing humans to see through them. The team even founded a company called Ubiquitous Energy intending to commercialize this innovative technology, making it accessible to more people. (According to MSUToday)

Transparent solar panels design and construction

In terms of design, transparent solar panels are composed of ordinary plastic panels and specially painted plastic sheets placed parallel to each other, forming a transparent or nearly transparent plastic block, as close to normal as possible to absorb sunlight when installed outside the building. They generate electricity by harnessing the response of electrons during radiation when light hits a specially dyed layer.

“Highly transparent solar cells represent the wave of the future for new solar applications,” said Richard Lunt, the Johansen Crosby Endowed Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science at MSU, the research team leader of this technology. “We analyzed their potential and showed that by harvesting only invisible light, these devices can provide a similar electricity-generation potential as rooftop solar while providing additional functionality to enhance the efficiency of buildings, automobiles, and mobile electronics.”

Inside transparent solar panels windows is a system with many parts, of which the solar concentrator is the most important, which is both the core for transparent solar panels’ energy generation and also has a special mechanism through which photons pass, making glass solar panels transparent.

Transparent solar panels working principle

In fact, in principle, transparent solar panels are not merely glass panels, they are transparent solar concentrators. The special dye that makes them work is an organic salt consisting of complex derivatives of cyanin fused with glass.

Cyanine is a synthetic dye, mainly used as a fluorescent dye in the field of biomedical imaging. From a chemical perspective, particular salt derivatives of a cyanine dye, obtained by precipitation reaction with a base, are used to absorb the near-infrared and ultraviolet spectrums while allowing visible light to pass. through, thereby making glass solar panels transparent.

We could use windows to generate electricity
We could use windows to generate electricity

These derivatives emit absorbed energy at other infrared frequencies which are transmitted to the edges of the glass by total internal reflection to the edges with smaller surfaces lined with conventional photovoltaic solar cells. small tissue, from which these frequencies will be converted into electricity.

Different types of transparent solar panels

Depending on various factors such as environment, resources, demand, etc., structures will be installed with one of two types of transparent solar panels: Partially transparent solar panels or Fully transparent solar panels. The two types have things in common, but also have their points to be used in certain cases.

Partially transparent solar panels

Partially transparent solar panel
Partially transparent solar panel

Partially transparent solar panels, made by German researchers from the Haliatek company, have a solar energy absorption efficiency of 60% of the received light, with a lower efficiency level than solar cells. Traditional 7.2%. However, the 60% figure can be increased by varying the light receiving angle and balancing the amount of sunlight transmitted and absorbed.

Fully transparent solar panels

Fully transparent solar panels
Fully transparent solar panels

Fully transparent solar panels have been and are being produced commercially by researchers at MSU as mentioned above. The light absorption efficiency of fully transparent solar panels is much lower than that of partially transparent solar panels, only around 10%. However, this number does not say it all when compared to the long-term economic benefits that partially transparent solar panels bring, the figure of 10% will soon be eclipsed.

Fully transparent solar panels, when applied in practice, do not have impressive performance, but as the saying goes “small accumulation becomes great” – when economies of scale are achieved, this will be a product that brings many breakthroughs with great benefits. 

Pros and cons

Like any product, transparent solar panels are not all-powerful. The use of transparent solar panels also has many benefits as well as disadvantages for users to consider applying in appropriate cases.

Advantages of transparent solar panels

As a new generation, environmentally friendly product, glass solar panels have the following benefits to consider:

Environment friendly

Produced to solve the energy problem by harnessing the natural energy available in the environment – solar energy, transparent solar panels are a solution that does not use fossil fuels, do not emit greenhouse gases, and are thoroughly “clean” for the environment, and should be widely used to replace the use of energy generated from coal or other fossil fuels.

Eco-friendly source of energy
Eco-friendly source of energy

Glass solar panels are now commercialized and mass-produced, helping many people access this advanced technology, thereby contributing to reducing fossil fuel use and exploitation, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, thereby reducing the impact on the environment, and increasing the awareness of protecting nature.

Lower your bill

Transparent solar panels that self-generate energy reduce the cost of power. If you own a large project such as a skyscraper or a large building or villa, you should meditate on transparent solar panels, as they are economical in the long run. The amount of investment compared to the profits earned and the savings will be well worth considering.

More efficiency than traditional solar panels

Better appearance with more efficiency
Better appearance with more efficiency

Compared with traditional energy batteries, transparent solar panels are far superior in terms of efficiency when used. Transparent solar panels have a beautiful appearance, easy to be used in projects that require aesthetics but still ensure energy issues, take up less space, and are not as bulky as traditional solar panels. 

Easy to transport and install

Transparent solar panels only have the appearance of light glass panels, installation and movement are extremely easy and convenient. Employees can take them anywhere, in large quantities for installation with extremely easy operations. Installation is also not too difficult.

Disadvantages of transparent solar panels

Affected by changes in weather

As a new technology, there has not been much testing, so transparent solar panels have not been optimized for all weather conditions. Excessive exposure to light and external factors such as dust, rain, and wind can cause damage and affect the operation of the whole building.

High initial cost

The amount of electricity produced by glass solar panels is very low. So, to power a large house or a high-rise building, a large number of panels will be needed. If there are not enough resources or the scale is not large enough, the investments will not be worth it.

Appropriate electronic equipment is required

As a new product, transparent solar panels are not yet compatible with existing electronic devices. Therefore, if you want to use transparent solar panels, you need to buy additional converters or specialized equipment to transfer power to use.

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Ability to lead the energy field

Promising to lead the energy segment due to their high feasibility and great potential, transparent solar panels are one of the most appreciated future technologies when it comes to product comprehensiveness. Transparent solar panels are widely applied in greenhouses and skyscrapers.

Transparent solar panels for greenhouses

Replace the traditional greenhouse
Replace the traditional greenhouse

Greenhouses are an effective solution used by farmers and more, helping them to double their output according to scientists’ research. However, to achieve this increase in production, greenhouses consume a huge amount of energy every day, almost needing to operate 24/24 with very high capacity.

Solar energy will be the perfect solution to the energy problem of greenhouses. Solar panels will be placed on the roof to optimize the amount of light received, completely matching the ability of transparent solar panels to let light through. In addition, they can flexibly adjust the temperature for farmed products, making it easy for farmers to adjust the appropriate temperature.

Turn skyscraper buildings into solar energy farms

High-rise buildings are ideal for installing transparent solar panels. To solve the problem of electricity for high-rise buildings, commercial centers, supermarkets, etc., many investors have installed and exploited rooftop solar power from these buildings.

With a large installation area, not only electricity needs in the building, skyscrapers can completely become a solar energy farm to continue producing and providing clean electricity for the area or the whole city. This is entirely possible with the largest, most efficient buildings in the year-round sun-kissed countries located around the equator.

How is the world opening up to transparent solar panels

Turn skyscrapers into solar farms
Turn skyscrapers into solar farms

According to the MSU development team, they have the potential to completely replace conventional solar panels and deliver up to 40% of the US’s entire electricity needs. This is an increase of up to 100% over current solar panel technology.

In European countries, transparent solar panels are also gradually gaining market share and gaining a foothold in the community. Physee – a Dutch company has installed 15,000 glass solar panel windows for their headquarters building and has given good feedback on their performance. The installation of transparent glass panels to capture and automatically manage the energy of the whole building has made up to 30% of the energy cost of the whole building.

Or at an international school in Copenhagen, Denmark – 12,000 glass solar panels were installed, producing more than 200 megawatts of electricity per year, responsible for half of the building’s total electricity consumption.

The trend of using green products, environmentally friendly products, and renewable energy has become a global trend, not only in the US or Europe. They offer two advantages: good economy and long-term fuel economy.

The future of transparent solar panels

Energy is a daily human need and is extremely important for everyday activity. Therefore, a new technology with high applicability like transparent solar panel windows will be a wise choice and worth considering for all of humanity. Since glass is available almost all over the world, if it can be converted to use ordinary glass with transparent solar panels, this will be a huge source of energy.

Statistics estimate that skyscrapers in the United States alone have 5-7 billion square meters of glass. Replaced with transparent solar panels, buildings, and even cities can operate on their own with the amount of electricity these “solar farm” buildings generate.

However, before putting it into practice, researchers need to develop a system of logistics technologies for the development and operation of the ecosystem around glass solar panels. This is a huge challenge. Besides, the more transparent solar panels are, the less efficient they are, so scientists will also have to find a way to strike an optimal point in the balance between the efficiency and transparency of this technology. 

FAQ related to “transparent solar panels”

Transparent solar panels price?

The prices range from $80 – $100/plate (prices are referenced on the Alibaba platform). This may not be a cheap price to buy in small quantities, but it is worth the investment when you own a large building, or a skyscraper.

Would solar panels survive an emp?

Since there is no internal circuitry, transparent solar panels will not be affected by an EMP. But the electrical circuits involved can completely be damaged by electrical impulse waves.

Transparent solar panels company?

Some manufacturers include Onyx Solar, Ubiquitous Energy, SunEvo Solar, or Xiamen Solar First Energy Technology.

Transparent solar panels efficiency

Transparent solar panels have lower efficiency, specifically, fully transparent solar panels and partially transparent solar panels have an efficiency of about 1%, and the estimated maximum potential is about 5% and 7.5% respectively. For comparison, the maximum efficiency of conventional solar panels is 15%.


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