Colored Solar Panels Are A Great Way to Produce Energy without Sacrificing Quality
For decades, engineers have been waiting for an ultimate solution to customize the colour of solar components and did you know, that a mishmash of photovoltaic technology and glass have given birth to a colorful laminated glasses, which are generating electricity.
The use of new screen-printing techniques and special interlayers are giving a visual interpretation to the no-longer-so called solar panels which has come up as a new active material.
The designers managed to maintain a perfect match between design and electrical efficiency.
They are most commonly called “colored solar panels” but they have certain technical characteristics which makes them complex as compared to simple ones.
Covering frontage or a roof with standard solar panel system to generate electricity will change a building’s original appearance.
At present, only dark colored solar panels are widely available on the market as they are designed to reflect a few light as possible.
This way the colored solar cell will produce maximum power output.
Fuchsel (project manager at the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Optics and Precision Engineering IOF in Jena) commented,
“Not enough work has been done so far on combining photovoltaics and design elements to really do the term ‘customized photovoltaics’ justice”.
You will be surprised to know that colored solar cells are solar cells that features different colors compared to a standard dark grey and bluish colors of typical solar PV system.
Typical Colors for Solar Cells And Their Efficiency
Monocrystalline solar cells are typically black, grey or blue while polycrystalline solar cells are usually dark blue or blue.
Speaking of thin-film amorphous silicon cells, the color is always the same; it has a dark surface with grey, black and brown as common colors.
Furthermore, CDTe and CIS cells are always back and dark brown.
Interestingly, the color of the solar cells can be changed by varying the thickness of the anti-reflection coating.
The colored solar panels looks different at the time of solar panel installation, however by altering the thickness of the anti-reflection layer, the overall reflection of solar panels will increase and the efficiency will decrease by 15-30% depending on the color.
Now here is the question –
Does the color affect the efficiency of these solar panels?
Well, according to Fuchsel,
“Giving solar cells color doesn’t really affect their efficiency. The additional transparent TCO layer has barely any impact on the current yield”.
Simulations showed that the efficiency of colored solar panels could increase up to 20 percent.
In reality, the solar panel efficiency basically depends on the designs of the solar system as well as the direction of building faces.
But here is the thing that not every color allows you to generate the same amount of electricity.
However, there are limitations with certain blends of blue, red and green.
Possibility of Multicolored Solar Panel System
The IOF scientists will be using laser-based optical welding processes to connect several solar cells to create a single module.
They enable accurate work at a micrometer scale without damaging the surrounding materials.
Besides, researchers are also developing an inkjet printing process in order to contact the conductive TCO later on the silicon wafer.
As a result it will end up making manufacturing faster plus allowing additional degrees of flexibility in design.
SIS (Semiconductor-Insulator-Semi-conductor structured) solar cells could even be used to make billboards that generate their own electricity.
Moreover, patents already cover the production of colored solar cells, as well the capability to integrate design elements into solar PV system along with whole modules.
“This opens up numerous possibilities to use a building to communicate information, displaying the name of a company or even artistic pictures”.
Solar energy is one of the most recognized renewable energy source as it is the most abundant energy source on earth. With advances in fabrication processes, photovoltaic (PV) materials, a power conversion efficiency (PCE) of flat-plate single-junction solar cells, efficient light controlling, and modules closely reach theoretical efficiency limit.