Printable Solar Panels a Game Changer
Author: Marty Middlebrook
Researchers at the University of Newcastle have launched Australia’s first large-scale demonstration of printed solar panels as part of a final phase of testing this new form of solar energy technology.
Using conventional printing technology, these panels will provide diverse applications from remote locations to disaster zones and will lower the cost of production.
Professor Paul Dastoor and his team at the University's Centre of Organic Electronics are about to start printing hundreds of metres of solar cells per day. Using conventional printer technology, electronic ink is printed onto clear plastic sheets making an incredibly light finished product.
"Solar paint technology allows us to harvest that energy now. It's lighter, more flexible and less expensive."
"By removing the constraints provided by inflexible solar cells, we can open up acres of surfaces to harness the sun's energy more efficiently."
Dastoor estimates that if the 2.2 million houses in NSW were to use these cells, it would be the equivalent to an entire power station.
Dr Ben Vaughan, who works with Professor Dastoor, said the next stage of development is to take the new technology to a full industrial scale.
"Instead of printing on something here which is 30 centimetres wide, we can start printing on things that are half a metre or a metre wide, two metres potentially wide," he said.
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