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Researchers claim to have developed a new transparent solar cell, which enables home windows to generate electricity in high volume at low cost.
The new kind of solar cells produce energy by absorbing mainly infrared light, not visible light, making the cells 66 per cent transparent to the human eye, allowing people to see the view outside.
The advantages of these so-called polymer solar cells are that they are lightweight and flexible and can be produced in high volume at low cost.
Researchers made the device from a photoactive plastic that converts infrared light into an electrical current.
Another breakthrough is the transparent conductor, which replaces the opaque metal electrode used in the past.
There has been intense world-wide interest in PSCs, which are made from plastic-like materials, to generate energy, Yang Yang and Paul S Weiss explained in the latest episode of the American Chemical Society's award-winning Global Challenges/Chemistry Solutions podcast series.
Researchers have also shown interest in making the PSCs transparent.
However, previous versions of transparent PSCs have had many disadvantages, which the team is set out to correct, the report said.
Researchers suggest the panels could be used in smart windows or portable electronics.