According to an article published on the ABC, scientists are one step closer to providing a fast and low-cost process of printing solar cells onto plastic.
The CSIRO is taking the lead on this new development, in collaboration with the Victorian Organic Solar Cell Consortium composed of scientists from Melbourne and Monash universities who have been working on the technology of solar printing since 2007.
CSIRO’s senior research scientist Dr Fiona Scholes said this technology is nearing its commercialisation and can be used to power something as small as an iPhone to something as big as a rooftop.
The process starts with creating coin-sized solar cells and later on increasing the cells into A3 size using commercial printers modified for the use of solar ink. The team is also working on a solar spray coating.
Dr Scholes believes that any plastic surface could be used as a solar panel.
“We print them onto plastic in more or less the same way we print our plastic banknotes,”
“Connecting our solar panels is as simple as connecting a battery.” she said.
Scholes also talks about improving the efficiency of their printed solar panels by developing solar ink that can generate more money from sunlight.
“We are confident we can push the technology further in the years to come,” she said.
Many companies have expressed their interest to market the promising technology.