They create colored solar panels with the same efficiency

When we talk about solar plates or panels we do it from one of the most interesting energy generation sources, although aesthetically they are not the most pleasant in the world and they are somewhat monotonous by having practically identical designs throughout the world and a black color usual. All this could change thanks to a new material that allows these power generators to be colored without losing efficiency in said work.

Indeed, they have created solar panels that take on colorful hues while producing energy almost as efficiently as traditional ones.

They create colored solar panels with the same efficiency

Colorful and not black solar panels

The use of the color black for solar panels is not a simple whim or standardization for no reason. They are usually black in color because their job is to absorb light . In fact, precisely other previous attempts to color solar panels failed because it diminished their ability to absorb light and generate energy through it. Previous technologies that attempted to incorporate structural color gave panels an undesirable iridescence or were costly to implement on a large scale.

Paneles solares de colores

Despite this argument for black, the standard monochrome color scheme leaves designers with fewer options for making buildings attractive when these green energy sources are implemented. Some architects and designers have even described solar panels as ugly or an eyesore , saying their appearance is an obstacle when integrating them into projects.

In this research by Tao Ma, Ruzhu Wang, researchers at the American Chemical Society (ACS), have developed a way to color solar panels using a structural material that is easy and inexpensive to apply .

This team of chemical researchers sprayed a material called photonic glass onto the surface of the solar cells of the solar panel. Photonic glass was made of a thin, disordered layer of microscopic dielectric spheres of zinc sulfide. Although most light could pass through the photonic glass, certain colors were reflected depending on the size of the spheres.

Almost as efficient

The great key to this research is that the use of photonic glass to develop different shades does not have a significant impact on the effectiveness to produce energy .

Paneles solares

According to the researchers’ data, using the photonic glass system and zinc sulfide dielectric spheres, they created solar panels in shades of blue, green and purple. In these more colorful solar panels, the power generation stood at a percentage of 21.5% , while the energy efficiency of the usual black solar panels would be 22.6%.

In tests, these photonic glass panels were also found to maintain color and performance over time , based on durability tests. Although production can be scaled, researchers are now focused on optimizing other aspects, such as exploring ways to make colors more saturated, as well as methods to achieve a wider color gamut.