In a press release, MIT researchers have reported that they have developed solar power concentrators that can be used to turn windows into solar panels. Their new technique paints the window glass with a mixture of two or more tranparent organic dyes that absorbs and transports the light to solar cells that are positioned around the edges of the glass. By using the dyes, the amount of electricity that could be produced by each of the solar cells is increased by about 10 times, with much lower amounts of solar cells and silicon needed
The head of the team, Professor Marc Baldo, says that it’s simple to manufacture and could be implemented within three years. While this technique has been around since the 70’s, the earlier versions lost too much of the sunlight while transporting it to the edges. The MIT technique used some of the same processes used in lasers and light-emitting diodes so that the light can travel the much longer distance to the solar cells on the outside. They also believe that this process can be used with existing solar cell systems to increase the efficiency of current systems 20-30%. Participants in the research are starting a company, Covalent Solar, to commercialize and improve the technology.