Is your electricity bill through the roof? Do you like the idea of solar panels, but not the cost? With a new solar technology from MIT, you may be able to incorporate solar panels into things like curtains and wallpaper.
MIT has developed a technology in which a flexible solar panel can be printed on ordinary items such as paper, cloth or plastic. The previous manufacturing of solar panels consisted of exposing the substrates to high temperatures or liquids. This new process is done with a vacuum, five layers of material, different vapors and a temperatures of less that 120 degrees Celsius. This process is gentler on the items than before, allowing the paper, cloth and plastic to be the basis for panels.
There are two more things that make these solar panels a lot different than conventional ones, the first one being the cost. MIT has stated that to make one of these panels costs only a little bit more than a regular ink-jet print and is almost as easy to do. Secondly, the panels are extremely durable and, can still function after hundreds of folds. As an example of how durable the panels are, the researchers printed a panel onto a piece of PET plastic and folded it 1000 times. Amazingly, it still worked! Also, text can be displayed on top of the panel and it will still function. Unlike previous solar panels, these are extremely flexible and their applications are endless. One solar panel made from an 8 1/2 x 11-inch piece of paper placed in ambient indoor lighting can power less than 50 volts. That’s enough to operate small devices. What do you think of these new solar panels? Will we be seeing them incorporated into our everyday living? Leave a comment below.