Solar Cell News: Peel and Stick Solar Panels Possible Thanks to Double Sided Tape
by Brandy Cross
What’s the latest thing in solar cell news? Peel and stick solar cell! But while the possibility of a peel and stick solar panel sounds like something out of a far-fetched fiction novella, researchers at Stanford University including Doctor Zheng and her team of researchers have proved that peel and stick solar cells really are possible, which is why they are the biggest thing in solar cell news, despite their recent introduction to science.
Stanford University Study Looks Into Thin Solar Cells
A study by a group of researchers at Stanford University including Chi Hwan Lee, Dong Rip Kim, In Sun Cho, Nemeth William, Qi Wang, and led by Xiaolin Zheng recently made ultra-thin solar cells a possibility. By using a nickel coating on a very thin solar cell wafer, and forming the cell in water to enhance flexibility, the team were able to create a peel and stick solar cell that can easily be attached to anything from glass, to the back of a cell phone. The peel and stick solar cell process circumvents multiple problems associated with creating ultra-thin or flexible solar panels on alternate materials such as paper or plastic, mainly because it allows the solar cells to form on a rigid base and then simply be peeled away and stuck onto whatever sort of surface. Examples from Stanford include the use of the peel and stick solar panels on glass, a cell phone, and a business card.
How the Peel and Stick Solar Cells Work
Peel and stick solar cells can now be produced and sold to easily attach to nearly any solid surface. While they are not yet in production, the process is easy to apply, and could be used to enhance green energy around the world, including with use on high rise buildings and even low rise windows that might have access to the sun. In fact, applying stick on solar cells to windows could greatly enhance the amount of energy that a single building can provide, cutting back on the need for non-efficient natural fuel sources such as those commonly used to produce electricity.
The solar cell is originally produced on a thin nickel coated wafer which is then soaked in room temperature water to separate the nickel and the silicone in the solar cell. From there, double sided tape is applied to the back of the solar panel and you have a peel and stick solar cell. The cells are then applied just about wherever, as part of a decal, logo, or anything else. And while the peel and stick process might sound damaging, the solar cells used in the Stanford study don’t lose any of their 7.5% efficiency while being moved.
Possible Solar Applications for the Future
While peel and stick solar cells might sound like a huge step in the right direction for green energy, many are pushing for more developments. With ideas including ‘smart clothing’ containing thin, flexible solar cells, and even solar ‘glitter’ which could probably be used for fashion as well, more and more studies are researching ways to make the world more independent of fossil fuels. For example, research in piezoelectricity have come up with ways to create devices that run on nothing more than the power of vibration, such as a pacemaker run by the power of the heart, or a pair of shoes that could power a smartphone.
With new green energy technology developing all around us, a future of windows that provide solar power for a building, clothes that power smart devices, and medical devices running on the power of the earth, or the human body, aren’t far from reality.