MIT researchers have done it again! This time it is an advanced version of solar panels which removes the existing limitations of widely used design today. Unlike the thick glass casing solar panels that are available now, the new MIT solar panel design is paper-thin and could completely change the way solar energy is harnessed in the coming years.
These paper-thin solar panels are super lightweight and can be pasted as a layer on surfaces and begin trapping solar energy. Moreover, the setup process will become far more convenient than the traditional solar panels with glass frames.
Will the new MIT solar panel be rigid enough?
The first thought that seeps into the mind is that a thinner material will be weaker. But that analogy is incorrect in this case. The official blog of MIT explains that “flexible solar cells, which are much thinner than a human hair, are glued to a strong, lightweight fabric.” The researchers developed thin-film solar cells that are printable.
Some researchers also developed lightweight solar panels so tiny that they could be placed on a soap bubble, but they weren’t practical. So, researchers developed this new printing technique using fabrication technology. The final product is just 15 microns thick, which makes it an extremely lightweight solar trapping panel.
The existing solar panels use solar cells, which are super delicate. It is the reason why they use a glass panel and aluminum frame housing to protect the cells from damage. But this design comes at a cost. It makes the solar panels extremely heavy and thus difficult to install. You need to create a robust structure to install the panels and ensure timely maintenance to keep them in working condition.
MIT’s blog post explains that the paper-thin design will make the solar panel incorporation much better. It can be arranged over any surface, structure, or vehicle, making it solar-powered. Researchers claim that the new MIT solar panel design will help more industrial adoption and promote green sources of energy production.