Sprayable Solar Panels Expected to Tap Sun's Power Within 5 Years

An interesting article was published earlier today, and thanks to the hard work of some researchers at The Universirty of Texas in Austin, there’s some interesting developments in the world of solar powered panels.

The team of researchers expect that within the next three to five years, we’ll be able to tap the sun’s power using sprayable solar paneling. The article from the Silicon Valley / San Jose Business Journal has more:

Solar cells from a spray can are just three to five years away, according to researchers at the University of Texas at Austin.

Brian Korgel has developed inks with a university research team that are made of nanoparticles of copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS) that are 10,000 times thinner than a strand of hair.

These can then be printed onto sheets at a much cheaper cost than current methods of producing solar panels.

“We’d have some sort of flexible substrate, maybe plastic or metal foil, and it would be on a spool and be unrolled. And the nanocrystals would be sprayed on,” Matthew Panthani, a doctoral student and graduate research assistant in Korgel’s lab, told the LiveScience Web site.

The inks today can convert 1 percent of the sunlight that hits them cell into electricity.

“If we get to 10 percent, then there’s real potential for commercialization,” Korgel told LiveScience. “If it works, I think you could see it being used in three to five years.”

Korgel co-founded Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Innovalight Inc., but left that company in 2005. Innovalight is working on silicon-based solar cell printing technology which a spokesman said is completely different from what the Texas researchers are working on.

Can you imagine using sprayable solar panels for power generation? Discuss that question and the development of this technology using the comments features below.

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