Researchers Unveil Flexible Solar Cell Roof Shingles  

Posted by Big Gav in ,

Inhabitat has a post on a new form factor for rooftop thin film solar - Researchers Unveil Flexible Solar Cell Roof Shingles.

By far one of the most wasted spaces of every residence is the roof - of course it is there to protect us from the elements, but surely it can be put to better use. Aiming to innovate upon conventional roof cladding, researchers at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory recently unveiled a new breed of flexible and moisture resistant solar panels that are designed to be rolled out en masse as energy-generating roof tiles!

Solar Panels are a great source of green energy, but unfortunately they’re not the prettiest of things - massive solar arrays tend to stick out like sore thumbs. Traditional photovoltaic panels, such as those incorporated into building facades, also tend to be costly, and producing them in a cheap and usable quantity has been a common problem.

Researchers at PNNL developed a film encapsulation process that was initially used for protecting flat panel displays over 15 years ago. However with the recent emphasis on energy generating technologies, they decided to take a second look at the materials and encapsulation process. It turns out that this encapsulation process can be used to protect components that are intended to be exposed to ultraviolet lights and natural elements, making it perfect for waterproofing thin-film solar panels.

PNNL hopes to produce a solar panel that can be installed on a residence and generate power for a few cents on the dollar. Research is currently being undertaken in conjunction with Vitex and Batelle, and hopefully we’ll see a marketable product soon.

1 comments

Anonymous   says 2:06 PM

I completely agree with you when you said most wasted space is the roof top. Most people hesitate using solar panels mainly due to the looks of it when installed. Roof is the first thing anyone will notice even from some distance before they reach your home. Naturally home owners will want it to look nice. As you correctly said, traditional solar cells are not the prettiest.

But flexible cells and solar shingles are making a breakthrough in solar energy sector. Solar shingles will seamlessly integrate to your rooftop making it practically invisible. As they are not very heavy any rooftop will be able to hold large number of them, making it easier to produce large amounts of electricity. But these advantages come with some disadvantages as well. You have to know all these information before you make your decision.

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