Solar power usage is growing in the United States, Europe, and Australia, but what about developing areas that don’t even have access to basic electricity? Now that University of NSW PhD student Nicole Kuepper has developed a cheap and simple way of producing solar cells in a pizza oven, these areas might get a chance to use solar power too.
Photovoltaic cells are generally expensive to produce and require large manufacturing plants. But Kuepper’s technology needs relatively low-cost items such as ovens, ink-jet printers, and nail polish. Her iJET solar cells also use a low-temperature process.
The technology will most likely be ready for commercialization in 5 years. Kuepper speculates that the iJET could be used on-site in poor nations to provide otherwise scarce energy.
While I am interested to know exactly how efficient these low-cost solar cells are, they will be of limitless value to those who don’t have any electricity at all.
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Ariel Schwartz was formerly the editor of CleanTechnica and is a contributor at Fast Company, Inhabitat, Triple Pundit, SF Weekly, and NBC Bay Area Online. A graduate of Vassar College, she has previously worked in publishing, organic farming, documentary film, and newspaper journalism. Her interests include permaculture, hiking, skiing, music, relocalization, and cob (the building material). She currently resides in San Francisco, CA.