The future is powered by renewables, and the more sources of electricity we have the more resilient our power grid will be. Researches at Michigan State University have created a solar film that can be applied to existing windows to generate electricity from the sun. The system is not as efficient as a standalone solar cell, but the benefits of putting the film on existing windows outweighs the inefficiency. The film is see through which means the windows look like normal windows. Imagine every window in a skyscraper generating a little amount of power or the windows on every electric car.
Back in 2017 MSU profiled Lunt’s work and explained that he and his team “pioneered the development of a transparent luminescent solar concentrator that when placed on a window creates solar energy without disrupting the view. The thin, plastic-like material can be used on buildings, car windows, cell phones or other devices with a clear surface.”
“The solar-harvesting system uses organic molecules developed by Lunt and his team to absorb invisible wavelengths of sunlight. The researchers can ‘tune’ these materials to pick up just the ultraviolet and the near-infrared wavelengths that then convert this energy into electricity,” MSU adds.