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    Pushing the frontiers of Technology GREEN ENERGY GOES TRANSPARENT!

    on
    January 10, 2021
    1.GLOBAL WARMING IS ACCELERATING ALARMINGLY
    1.1.In the year 2019, the average SURFACE TEMPERATURE of the earth was 0.95 degree Celsius HIGHER than in the whole of the 20th century.
    2.FORTUNATELY GOVERNMENTS, NGOs, SCIENTISTS & CORPORATES HAVE COME TOGETHER IN A BIG WAY LEADING TO AN INNOVATION EXPLOSION.
    3.MODIFIED BHARAT LEADS THE WORLD IN POWER PRODUCTION FROM RENEWABLE SOURCES
    3.1.As of 27 November 2020, 38% of India’s installed electricity generation capacity is from renewable sources (136 GW out of 373 GW).
    3.2.The world as a whole produces only 28% of its power from renewable (non-fossil) sources as per the assessment of the IEA!
    3.3.The Paris Solar Alliance in the formation of which our PM MODI was one of the chief architects, is committed to this share globally to 40% by 2030; Bharat shall far exceed this target.
    4.THE SHARE OF SOLAR POWER
    4.1.Bharat now—27.2% of total power generated from solar power
    4.2.The world—A mere 5%
    5.Types of Solar Energy Technologies
    5.1.There are primarily two types of solar energy technologies. The first one is Photovoltaic or PV, and
    5.2.The other one is solar thermal energy.
    5.3.Solar photovoltaic is the one you must have seen at the top of the rooftops of your residential spaces.
    5.4.These are mainly known for converting solar energy to electricity directly.
    6.How Does PV Technology Produce Energy?
    6.1.Basically, in a transparent solar cell that uses PV technology, sunlight works as a detaching agent and separates the electrons from the silicon atoms.
    6.2.After that, electrons capture photons that store the light energy and set them free from their host atom.
    6.3.There is a one-way membrane at the top of the upper surface of the cell that is called a pn-junction.
    6.4.When a pn-junction comes in contact with a free electron, it creates a positive voltage at the rear surface and a negative voltage on the surface that is facing the sun (front surface).
    6.5.Then ultimately, both the front and rear surfaces are combined with the help of an external circuit to extract voltage, power, and current from the solar cells.
    7.HOW THE SOLAR THERMAL TECHNOLOGY WORK? ITS DISADVANTAGES
    7.1.The initial cost of purchasing cost of a solar system is quite high. is fairly high.
    7.2.This includes paying for solar panels, inverter, batteries, wiring, and the installation.
    7.3.Solar energy has to be used right away, or it can be stored in large batteries. These batteries, used in off-the-grid solar systems, can be charged during the day so that the energy is used at night.
    7.4.This is a good solution for using solar energy all day long but it is also quite expensive.
    7.5.The more electricity you want to produce, the more solar panels you will need, as you want to collect as much sunlight as possible.
    7.6.Solar PV Panels require a lot of space and some roofs are not big enough to fit the number of solar panels that you would like to have.
    7.7.Creation of big Solar Power Farms involves huge land costs and acquisition problems due to affected people’s resistance whose lands are being acquired.
    8.OTHER HUGE DISADVANTAGES OF SILICON OPAQUE SOLAR CELL PANELS
    8.1.Limited efficiency, often between 7 and 13%.
    8.2.Very little power output.
    8.3.Take up a lot of space – not ideal for residential use.
    8.4.It can cost a lot when you add up the cost of multiple silicon solar panels.
    8.5.Short life span and warranty.
    9.ENTER THE TRANSPARENT SOLAR PANELS WHICH CAN BE INSTALLED ON BUILDING WINDOWS WITHOUT COMPROMISING ON AESTHETICS!
    9.1.40% of all the electricity produced in the world is CONSUMED BY THE BUILDINGS, homes, offices, malls, hospitals etc.
    9.2.In a step closer to skyscrapers that serve as power sources, a team led by University of Michigan researchers has set a new efficiency record for colour-neutral, transparent solar cells.
    9.3.The team achieved 8.1% efficiency and 43.3% transparency with an organic, or carbon-based, design rather than conventional silicon. While the cells have a slight green tint, they are much more like the grey of sunglasses and automobile windows.
    9.4.“Windows, which are on the face of every building, are an ideal location for organic solar cells because they offer something silicon can’t, which is a combination of very high efficiency and very high visible transparency,” said Stephen Forrest, the Peter A. Franken Distinguished University Professor of Engineering and Paul G. Goebel Professor of Engineering, who led the research.
    9.5.Buildings with glass facades typically have a coating on them that reflects and absorbs some of the light, both in the visible and infrared parts of the spectrum, to reduce the brightness and heating inside the building. Rather than throwing that energy away, transparent solar panels could use it to take a bite out of the building’s electricity needs. The transparency of some existing windows is similar to the transparency of the solar cells Forrest’s group reports in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
    9.6.“The new material we developed, and the structure of the device we built, had to balance multiple trade-offs to provide good sunlight absorption, high voltage, high current, low resistance and color-neutral transparency all at the same time,” said Yongxi Li, an assistant research scientist in electrical engineering and computer science.
    10.WHAT IS THE NEW TRANSPARENT MATERIAL MADE OF?
    10.1. The new material is a combination of organic molecules engineered to be transparent in the visible and absorbing in the near infrared, an invisible part of the spectrum that accounts for much of the energy in sunlight. In addition, the researchers developed optical coatings to boost both power generated from infrared light and transparency in the visible range–two qualities that are usually in competition with one another.
    10.2. The color-neutral version of the device was made with an indium tin oxide electrode. A silver electrode improved the efficiency to 10.8%, with 45.8% transparency. However, that version’s slightly greenish tint may not be acceptable in some window applications.
    10.3. Transparent solar cells are measured by their light utilization efficiency, which describes how much energy from the light hitting the window is available either as electricity or as transmitted light on the interior side. Previous transparent solar cells have light utilization efficiencies of roughly 2-3%, but the indium tin oxide cell is rated at 3.5% and the silver version has a light utilization efficiency of 5%.
    10.4. Both versions can be manufactured at large scale, using materials that are less toxic than other transparent solar cells. The transparent organic solar cells can also be customized for local latitudes, taking advantage of the fact that they are most efficient when the sun’s rays are hitting them at a perpendicular angle. They can be placed in between the panes of double-glazed windows.
    11.Forrest and his team are working on several improvements to the technology, with the next goal being to reach a light utilization efficiency of 7% and extending the cell lifetime to about 10 years. They are also investigating the economics of installing transparent solar cell windows into new and existing buildings.
    12.As compared to other energy sources, transparent solar cells are the best way to produce natural energy without having to compromise on the performance. Because of the excellent efficiency in performance, the solar cell makes an exceptional choice of generating energy for both domestic and corporate uses.
    Ramdas Iyer
    10.01.2021
    Sunday
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