With the recent advancements in solar power, this alternative power source is quickly becoming extremely competitive with coal power at providing energy for the home. Innovative breakthroughs have found ways to generate nearly infinite solar energy at a mere fraction of the cost of traditional power sources. The following five advancements are proving to be the next direction of solar energy that will make it extremely desirable and accessible to everyone.

 

Printed Solar Cells


Creative innovators have discovered a simple way to print solar cells on nearly any type of substrate. The process easily lowers temperatures and vapor when compared to traditional liquid solutions that are produced at a high cost. Traditional solutions have always required high temperatures that prove to degrade the substrate materials over time. Using pliable materials, the printed solar cells are extremely durable with no loss of performance, even if the substrate is continually folded and unfolded.

Nano-Templated Molecules


Azobenzene is the latest and newest molecule developed to store permanent solar thermal energy for an indefinite period. This creative innovation uses carbon nano-tubes as a simple way to structure molecules that can convert energy from the sun. It has the ability to store it at high levels of energy density, like the power in lithium-ion batteries. This inexpensive process easily converts and stores solar energy without degradation.

Flat-Panel Solar


Micro solar thermal power is still in the development phase but is proving to be highly effective at generating solar electricity at eight times the effectiveness of the best panels now produced. Inventors are developing efficient panels using inexpensive materials to capture the heat differential that is generated from sunlight striking the panel. The process could revolutionize solar energy conversion.

Transparent Solar Cells


Glass-enveloped office buildings around the world could be used to harness the rays of the sun and still maintain the transparency of the glass. Transparent solar cells are now being developed using transparent organic PV cells fabricated into window glazing. The goal is to reach an amazing 12% efficiency at a tremendously lower cost than traditional thin film solar cells.

Virus Technology


Taking a completely different route, some creative innovators have engineered the M13 virus (known to attack bacteria) to space apart solar generating carbon nano-tubes at precise distances so they can convert solar energy into power. Used as a little machining tool, the virus helps improves the process up to 10.6% efficiency, a significant increase of over one third.