THIN-FILM SOLAR CELLS

Spray-coating glass to create a solar cell.

Spray-coating glass to create a solar cell.

Making solar cells can get expensive. What if you could just stick them on, or perhaps even spay them on?

¬†Current research has found that “perovskite,” an inexpensive calcium titanium oxide mineral, reacts to light nearly as well as silicon. This is a recent discovery from a team at the University of Sheffield in England. They’re aiming for 19 percent efficiency, but so far have achieved only 11 percent in the lab. If they get there, just about anything could be spray-painted — your house, your car, your motorcycle, your TV and so on, with solar cells.

NOTE: Perovskite is a mineral found in the Ural Mountains in Russia and comes in several crystal varieties. It can be manufactured.

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