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Printing Solar Cells

Printing Solar Cells

We are fast approaching the point where we will be able to print anything. It should be no surprise to see solar cells and panels on the list of materials that researchers are learning to print. Imagine being able to print solar panels whenever and wherever you need them at a low cost factor.

While you’re up, print me a solar cell – [mit.edu]

The sheet of paper looks like any other document that might have just come spitting out of an office printer, with an array of colored rectangles printed over much of its surface. But then a researcher picks it up, clips a couple of wires to one end, and shines a light on the paper. Instantly an LCD clock display at the other end of the wires starts to display the time.

Almost as cheaply and easily as printing a photo on your inkjet, an inexpensive, simple solar cell has been created on that flimsy sheet, formed from special “inks” deposited on the paper. You can even fold it up to slip into a pocket, then unfold it and watch it generating electricity again in the sunlight.

Power Up: Printing Solar Panels at Home – [additiveprinting.com]

Ah, solar panels: so clean, so elegant—and so bloody expensive. Covering your roof with photovoltaics may save you money in the long run, but it requires the installation of a lot of heavy and expensive equipment up front. Thin-film solar panels, printed on sheets at industrial scales, are slowly making inroads, but suppose you wanted to power something much smaller than a house — an appliance or an alarm clock, say. Never mind waiting for industry to invent the product you’re waiting for. According to a paper published in the journal Advanced Materials, it’s now possible to print photovoltaic cells on paper almost as you would a document — and almost as cheaply too.

Inkjet printing could change the face of solar energy industry – [oregonstate.edu]

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Inkjet printers, a low-cost technology that in recent decades has revolutionized home and small office printing, may soon offer similar benefits for the future of solar energy.

Engineers at Oregon State University have discovered a way for the first time to create successful “CIGS” solar devices with inkjet printing, in work that reduces raw material waste by 90 percent and will significantly lower the cost of producing solar energy cells with some very promising compounds.

High performing, rapidly produced, ultra-low cost, thin film solar electronics should be possible, scientists said.

Printing solar cells on paper – [element14.com]

Great minds think alike?

Oregon State University (OSU) made an injet printed solar panel. Now MIT has made a printed solar panel. OSU’s panel is at 5% efficiency while MIT’s is only at 1%. However, MIT’s can be folded thousands of times and still work. MIT’s panels can also be further printed on, laminated, or treated with extreme heat and will still function.

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