The flexibility, transparency and light weighted-ness of organic solar cells has facilitated their miniaturization. Manufacturing organic solar cells in arbitrary shapes & colors has become more feasible. If these cells are placed on objects which are constantly exposed to the sun’s radiant heat, then small yet significant amounts of electrical energy can be harvested.
New study reveals that solar glasses fitted with semitransparent organic solar cells can translate solar heat into electric power. Researchers from Karlsruher Institut für Technologie (KIT) have developed solar glasses that can generate solar power to run microprocessors in electronic devices such as smartphones. Sunglasses with colored, semitransparent solar cells can translate electric power from solar energy, and become a key source for futuristic, solar-powered mobile applications.
Innovative designs as such have paved way for a new branch of product developments involving micro solar chips. Organic solar cells can now be fitted into sunglasses, and in the times to come, they will be integrated across windows, car windshields, and overhead glazing.
Dr. Alexander Colsmann, the Head of Organic PV Group at Light Technology Institute, KIT, explains how organic solar cells are the most effective substitute for conventional photovoltaics. These cells can be manufactured in a wide variety of shapes and colors, and have no operational limitations, unlike PV cells. Fitted to the glass of sunglasses, organic solar cells can generate up to 200 milliwatt of electric power, which will be sufficient to power common smart devices such as hearing aids or step counters.
According to Colsmann, the next step to this groundbreaking application of organic solar cells is their installation across commercial buildings and residential settings. High-rise edifices in urban localities can be converted into a primary source of solar-derived electric power. Organic solar modules fitted across street pavements and building exteriors can translate large amounts for electricity collectively. This power can be used to run “smart” public amenities such as signals, parking counters, and streetlights.
While the scope of this project is directed towards studying the use of semitransparent organic solar cells on sunglasses, key findings from it can be utilized in development of smart solar devices. In addition to these “solar” glasses, consumers might be interested in buying caps, watches, and other apparel accessories fitted with organic solar cell. Considering the effectiveness of these solar cells, charging electronic devices such as smartphones will become effortless in broad daylight.