Researchers at the University of Newcastle have completed Australia’s first commercial installation of printed solar cells.
Using a machine that typically prints wine labels, the team made the solar cells out of semiconducting polymer-based inks. “Each solar cell consists of several individual layers printed on top of each other, which are then connected in series to form a bank of cells,” the team wrote in TheConversation. “These cells are then connected in parallel to form a solar module.”
Each 10-meter-long module is sandwiched between layers of recyclable plastic. The team says they could be installed on any roof or structure using adhesive tape.
“Ultimately, we imagine that these solar cells could even benefit those people who don’t own or have access to roof space,” the researchers said. “People who live in apartment complexes, for example, could potentially sign up to a plan that lets them pay to access the power generated by cells installed by the building’s owner or body corporate, and need never necessarily ‘own’ the infrastructure outright.”
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