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Environment & Science

Power-generating solar film developed at UCLA

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Now that’s technological innovation. A team of UCLA researchers has created a transparent solar cell that can be converted into an electricity-generating film. As reported by Bloomberg, the film could potentially be sprayed onto everything from car sunroofs to personal devices like an iPad.

“These results open the potential for visibly transparent polymer solar cells as add-on components of portable electronics, smart windows and building-integrated photovoltaics and in other applications,” said Yang Yang, lead researcher and UCLA professor of materials science and engineering in a press release.

While the development of such a film would revolutionize the solar industry with the ease of installation (as opposed to the industry standard panels), Yang says a marketable retail version is many years to come. Still, he admits that “several companies” have contacted him with commercial interests in the technology.

“Our new polymer solar cells are made from plastic-like materials and are lightweight and flexible," Yang said. “More importantly, they can be produced in high volume at low cost.

“I’m confident that someone, if not me, will bring this to the market and we will all benefit,” he added to Bloomberg.