Spray-on solar panels created at Sheffield

Spray tans may not be the only aerosol-based preparation for a stint in the sun – as scientists have developed spray-on solar panels. This means solar energy harvesting films could […]

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By Vicky Ellis

Spray tans may not be the only aerosol-based preparation for a stint in the sun – as scientists have developed spray-on solar panels.

This means solar energy harvesting films could be sprayed onto surfaces like car roofs or the glass windows of buildings.

Researchers at University of Sheffield made solar cells out of a material called “perovskite” – so called because of the type of mineral it is – using a spray-painting process.

They say the process is similar to putting paint on cars and graphic printing and could be used for high volume manufacturing.

They believe this could be cheaper than using energy intensive materials like silicon which most solar cells are currently made with.

Professor David Lidzey, lead researcher on the project said: “There is a lot of excitement around perovskite based photovoltaics.

“Remarkably, this class of material offers the potential to combine the high performance of mature solar cell technologies with the low embedded energy costs of production of organic photovoltaics.”

There’s a growing trend towards thin-film solar cells, according to the professor, with their efficiency rocketing: “Perovskite cells now have efficiencies of up to 19%. This is not so far behind that of silicon at 25% – the material that dominates the world-wide solar market.”

Earlier in the year University of Oxford physicist Henry J Snaith claimed the solar research community has been “bitten by the perovskite bug”.