A team of Australian researchers have announced that they have created a printable solar panel which could revolutionise the production cost of this renewable energy. In fact the printable solar panels apparently cost under £10 per squared meter!
A stagnated industry
In 2014, the European Union, long considered the leader of the global solar energy market, announced a crisis. Although manufacturing and installation costs are the main obstacle to solar panel development, the ecological footprint of panel manufacturing is also problematic.
Is there a way to boost competitiveness and continue the development of this industry? Professor Paul Dastoor and his team of researchers at Newcastle University (Australia) have supposedly found a solution. Their idea is creating printable solar panels. Their concept called Solar Paint was presented on Australian television in 2011 (see video at the end of the article) which has now been further developed.
A revolutionary concept on paper
Currently, Tesla solar panels, one of the most expensive on the market costs 235 euros per squared metre while the panels that are being proposed by Paul Dastoor cost less than 10. However the secret involves the thickness of the printable panel which is only 0.1 mm thick. In comparison it is 10 times less thick than others on the market. These solar panels are made with the help of a classical 3D printer with an electrically conductive ink as well as simple polyethylene terephthalate (PET) films.
The advantages of this type of panel
Other than their reduced manufacturing costs, printable solar panels can adapt themselves to almost anywhere, whether it is windows, walls, roofs or even cars! Researchers have also noted that their panels were more effective than others that already exist on the market today, specifically at times when there is limited or weak light.
Still in the testing phase, the panels in question are already the subject of a future commercialization project. Only the future will tell what the possible impact of this invention may have on the market. With such a low cost manufacturing value plus their high quality performance, it is easy to imagine that many companies and homes will want to have their own affordable renewable energy.