Wearable Cheap Solar Panel

Dec 16, 2004

European scientists have developed light, flexible solar panels that could be sewn on fabrics and placed on surfaces to charge objects ranging from cellphones and DVD players to batteries, according to New Scientist magazine.

Researchers from France, Portugal and the Netherlands collaborated to develop new thin film technology which paves the way towards cost effective mass production of silicon-based solar energy devices. The 'h-alpha solar' project aimed at development of industrially applicable production techniques for solar cells using polymorphous silicon with stable efficiencies above 10%, exploring in-line batch as well as continuous roll-to-roll techniques.

The new panels are made using polymorphous silicon instead of crystalline silicon, the thickness is little more than one micrometre, up to 10 times thinner than conventional panels. The yield is not so good, though. The best solar panels have an energy efficiency of 20%, but the new cells are only about 7%.

"The new solar panels will be cheap too, because they can be mass-produced in rolls that can be cut as required and wrapped around clothes," New Scientist magazine said on Wednesday.

The Akzo Nobel, a partner in the research, already has a pilot plant producing rolls of silicon cells. A projected full-scale manufacturing plant would produce panels at a cost of 1 EUR/Watt-peak.

Explore further: Tech gifts for the geek who already has everything

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

October was 'bumper' month for Scotland's renewables

Nov 07, 2014

Any way you look at it— the solar PV panels, the solar hot water panels, the wind turbines—Scotland turned out to have a bumper month for renewables in October. Wind turbines generated an estimated 982,842MWh ...

Image: Rosetta solar wing

Nov 12, 2014

This is one of Rosetta's two massive solar wings, keeping ESA's comet-chaser powered out in the cold depths of space, currently some 448 million km from the Sun.

New materials for more powerful solar cells

Nov 12, 2014

Applying a thin film of metallic oxide significantly boosts the performance of solar panel cells—as recently demonstrated by Professor Federico Rosei and his team at the Énergie Matériaux Télécommunications Research ...

Recommended for you

Namibia prepares for Africa's first e-vote

9 hours ago

Namibia will vote in Africa's first electronic ballot Friday, a general election that will usher in a new president and quotas to put more women in government.

GoGlove wearable aims to control life's soundtracks

11 hours ago

Technology creatives are seeing the key attraction in wearables as being in solutions that save the user from fumbling around with the phone to make app adjustments or changes, or from repeatedly taking it ...

Amazon cuts Fire phone price to ignite sales

11 hours ago

Amazon on Wednesday slashed the price of Fire mobile phones that stalled after launch early this year, becoming a drag on the US online retail titan's bottom line.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.