Spray-on tans, spray-on solar panels…what’s next? Researchers at the Australian National University are working with Spark Solar Australia and Braggone Oy on a three-year project to develop spray-on solar panels that are both cheap and highly efficient.
Traditionally, solar cells are made of silicon coated with a thin layer of anti-reflective silicon nitrate. The cells are expensive to produce because they are made in a vacuum. With the spray-on method, cells travel along a conveyor belt and are sprayed with hydrogen film and anti-reflective film as they go, thus removing the need for a vacuum.
Scientists working on the project also hope to increase cell efficiency beyond the normal range of 5 to 24 percent.
ANU is currently testing the process, and commercial production is expected to begin in 2011.
Photo Credit: Sustainable Energy Systems
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.