Solar panels have traditionally been kept on roof tops or other surfaces that are used but occupy space. Integrating Solar surfaces to building glass has never been done successful since they block light. That might all be history now. A new of solar concentrator has been developed that can be placed on a window but will not block your view. These are called transparent luminescent solar concentrator and can be used on buildings, glass partitions or even your mobiles phones screen. All you need is a flat, clear surface.
This technology has been created at the Michigan State University. Past efforts in this field have had poor results both in terms of transparency of surface and efficiency of power generation. This solar harvesting system uses small organic molecules to absorb specific nonvisible wavelengths of sunlight. These materials can pick up just the ultraviolet and the near infrared wavelengths that then ‘glow’ at another wavelength in the infrared. The “glowing” infrared light is guided to the edge of the plastic where it is converted to electricity by thin strips of photovoltaic solar cells. Because the materials do not absorb or emit light in the visible spectrum, they look exceptionally transparent to the human eye.
As a result of this we might see a large change in how houses and buildings are constructed. The aim will be to utilize all surface to capture the solar power.