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Sticky Solar Panels Have Been Invented

It was going to happen at some point with so many innovative products being invented on a regular basis. Researchers have come up with a product that will enable solar power to be used for a variety of different uses.

Stanford University
(image credit: isapisa)

Flexible solar cells have been created that will stick to such materials as glass, plastic and paper with the help of double sided tape. These could be used on things that are used on a daily basis such as portable electronic products like mobile phones and on convex windows and curved roofs that have not previously been able to accommodate solar panels. For instance, solar panel cells could be stuck to windows enabling a property to benefit from daylight other than from the panels being installed just on roofs.

This fascinating invention has been developed at Stanford University headed up by Xiaolin Zheng who is a mechanical engineer.

They are even talking about having electrified “smart” clothing that could power a smartphone. Researchers believe that these sticky solar panels could help with the manufacture of transistors, flexible circuits and electrical displays.

Presently, solar panels need to have a silicon or glass backing which means that they are of a rigid structure so this latest development promises to be a huge step forward. This new invention has been termed the peel and stick process and means that it is possible to solve some of the limitations present with standard solar panels.

The new procedure will involve applying a layer of nickel to a rigid silicon dioxide/silicon wafer and adding thin-film solar cells. Next, polymer is placed over the cells on top of which is placed thermal release tape.

These materials are soaked in water at room temperature and an edge of the tape is peeled back with the water getting in between the wafer and the nickel eventually separating them leaving just the wafer and tape with all the rest attached to it. The later is heated, adhesive is put on the side with no tape and everything is then attached to a selected surface. Having peeled off the tape polymer covered cells remain stuck just like a decal. None of the efficiency of the cells is lost.

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