Printed paper solar cells
Solar panel materials are getting thinner and thinner. Now, MIT researchers have announced a method forprinting solar cell material on paper.
The efficiency of this method is far lower than other kinds of solar cells. The paper solar cells have an efficiency of around 1.5-2%, while commercial silicon wafer solar panels are generally around the 15-20% efficiency range. However, the scientists point out that this is still a research technology and is years from commercialization.
Even if the efficiency does not improve dramatically, it may be possible that cheap and abundant solar collecting materials provide a better and more cost-effective way of getting power, especially for portable electronic devices.
The relative effect of the chemicals and processes used in system may also be an issue. If there are less harmful materials used in a printed solar cell technology, the benefits that offers may also outweigh the relative efficiency gap as compared with the more toxic option.