Coming soon: Solar-panel windows?

The upside of designing the cells to primarily capture infrared energy in lieu of visible? The cells are “nearly 70% transparent to the human eye,” says the UCLA press office. In other words, based on the press snaps the university’s handing around, imagine windows fitted with this material to at most look slightly tinted.

And the benefits would, in theory, extend well beyond windows. According to the research team leader and UCLA engineering professor Yang Yang, ”These results open the potential for visibly transparent polymer solar cells as add-on components of portable electronics, smart windows and building-integrated photovoltaics and in other applications.”