Solar glitter is here!
These glitter-sized, interconnected networks could significantly drive down the cost of solar.
- Solar glitter: It’s real.
- It’s kind of like regular solar panels but mini.
- The glitter-sized solar cells make the solar panels bendable, portable and cheaper.
This one could be a hit. Solar glitter is similar to regular solar panels in that it’s made from high-efficiency silicon and makes electricity out of the sun’s rays. But the similarities stop there.
Let’s just hope it does better than that other Glitter.
Scientists from Sandia National Laboratory figured out a way to make traditional solar panels mini. The small size of the solar cells makes the panels bendable, portable and nearly unbreakable.
These glitter-sized, interconnected networks could significantly drive down the cost of solar. Since they’re light and transportable, they are much easier to move around and cheaper to install. They’re also more durable, so decrease repair costs. And they require less material to manufacture, making them cheaper to make.
Conventional solar panels “are brittle because they're crystalline,” Murat Okandan, CEO of mPower Technology, the startup making the new technology, told Co.Exist. "If you bend or flex them, at some point they'll just break and shatter. By making our cells small and then interconnecting them, we're able to make them almost unbreakable."
According to Co.Exist, a satellite could carry a tightly-folded solar array into space and then deploy it when it reaches orbit; a drone could carry a folded array on its wing. Someone on a camping trip could easily fit a large folded array in a backpack.
"You can charge your devices when you're out backpacking, fold it back up, put it in your backpack, and just go," Okandan says.
We’re rooting for you, solar glitter!
Sarah is mom to the two cutest little girls in the world. Before choosing to make changing diapers and reading bed time stories her full time gig, she earned a degree in political science from The University of South Dakota, worked in the governor’s office as a policy analyst and dabbled in communications at her local utility. Follow Sarah on Twitter @EnergyMommy.