What is Solar ‘Skin’ and How Does It Work?

February 19, 2020
Image Credit: The Guardian

Just when you thought you’ve seen it all when it comes to solar power technology, something incredible comes along.

Engineers at the University of Queensland in Australia have recently made a breakthrough in a kind of solar power generation technology that could significantly transform the way we tap the power of our sun.

This breakthrough has to do with a specific kind of electricity-generating substance that is being called ‘solar skin’.

Renewable Energy is Now Skin-Deep

Solar skin is a flexible, transparent material that is very thin yet very efficient at producing an electrical current when it’s exposed to sunlight.

Think of it as being a thick piece of saran wrap that could be applied to virtually any surface—the exterior of homes, cars, utility poles—almost anything!

The applications could be extended to the field of consumer electronics, too. Before long, solar skin could be applied to your smartphone, and charging it would be as simple as placing it in direct sunlight.

How Does It Work?

Solar skin is infused with billions of tiny, photoelectric particles called ‘Quantum Dots’. These particles get excited when they are subjected to photons, which is what sunlight is chiefly composed of.

The challenge with solar skin up to this point has been its disappointing efficiency. However, the researchers at the University of Queensland have recently worked out a way to improve this efficiency by 25%, yielding solar skin that has an overall efficiency rating of 16.6%.

This means that, of all the potential solar energy that is exposed to the solar skin, 16.6% of it is effectively converted into electricity.

By comparison, high-efficiency solar panels are about 19-22% efficient. This means solar skin is quickly approaching ‘prime time’ for commercial and residential use.

At Urban Solar, the Future is Bright

While solar skin may not yet be available for home and business owners, there are still incredibly powerful solar power generation systems you can buy right now—systems that can save you a lot of money on your utility bills.

To learn more, contact us today.