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New solar panels are transparent

Now you see me, now you don't!

Eyesore no more!

Now you see me, now you don’t! Who said that the solution of solar energy should come at the expense of style or aesthetics?

Researchers at Michigan State University have come up with a new type of transparent solar panels to replace standard solar panels that looked more like stained glass.

The small-scaled panels exploit infrared light using photovoltaic segments surrounding the panel. The infrared light used in the process is not visible by the naked eye, making the panel look like it’s invisible.

The panels might look significantly more appealing from their previous versions but their stylistic upgrade sees a major decrease in their functionality. At this stage, the new panels translate approximately 1% of the light that goes through them to usable energy with the research team intending to raise it up to 5% in the foreseeable future. These numbers are very low compared to the world’s most efficient existing panels that turn a little bit less than 45% of the light that passes through them into energy.

The project is still in early stages so we shouldn’t lose faith that style and performance can be synchronized to give us the optimal result. With alternate sources of energy still very much on the agenda, we’ll be keeping a close eye on any further developments.

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