Solar cells are arguably one of the most promising forms of alternative energy out there at the moment. The power of the sun is available to everyone, in every part of the globe, every single day. However, while the power of the sun may be readily accessible, the technology required to actually harness that power isn’t.
Rooftops are one of the most popular places to put solar panels, but they’re big, clunky, and often times prohibitively expensive. Many people also don’t like how they look on a house, including numerous homeowners associations that have been known to reject the installation of rooftop solar panels completely. Fortunately, a group of Canadian researchers may have found a solution.
Researchers at University of Toronto claim to have developed a technique for spraying solar cells onto surfaces that’s both more simple and more affordable than previous technologies, which means that it has a much greater chance of becoming popular.
Spray-on solar cells have the ability to turn surfaces that’re too sloped, rounded, flexible, or otherwise unsuitable for rigid solar panels into suitable surfaces. This new method uses light-sensitive materials known as colloidal quantum dots (CQDs) that can be sprayed or printed onto an ultra-thin film which could then be applied to any surface like cellophane wrap.
“My dream is that one day you’ll have two technicians with Ghostbusters backpacks come to your house and spray your roof,” said Illan Kramer, a post-doctoral fellow with The Edward S. Rogers Sr. Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Toronto and IBM Canada’s Research and Development Center, as quoted by TreeHugger.