South African, Belgian Scientists Collaborate On ‘Revolutionary’ New Solar Panels

South African, Belgian Scientists Collaborate On ‘Revolutionary’ New Solar Panels

solar panels Nigerian solar energy firm
South African researchers are working on developing solar panels that could allow buildings to generate their own power. AP Photo – Schalk van Zuydam

South African and Belgian scientists are working on a new type of transparent solar panel that can be used in window glass to generate solar power.

This technology could allow people to power their homes, offices, cars, and personal devices through windows and screens that can remain transparent and functional, according to Businesstech.

This would effectively turn future buildings, vehicles, and devices into their own power sources.

Scientists believe that the technology will be able to generate some of the energy demands of the people in the buildings. In theory, the technology could also work on the windows of electric cars or on smartphone screens.

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Access to electricity is a huge issue across Africa, with 57.2 percent of people on the continent still off the grid.

This “revolutionary” solar technology is still in development. It is expected to take about a decade to refine before it can be widely implemented, Htxt reports.

Driven by rising electricity prices and growing demand for electricity production, South African researchers hope the new type of transparent solar panel can be used in the construction of future buildings.


Developing new solar panels

In collaboration with researchers from Ghent University in Belgium, South African scientists at the University of the Free State are working to find the right combination of materials to use in the glass that will attract ultraviolet and infrared light.

By incorporating the right phosphor materials inside the glass, ultraviolet and infrared light can be collected, converted and concentrated to the sides of the glass panel where solar panels can be mounted, according to Businesstech.

This invisible light can then be used to generate electricity.