Paper Solar Panels?

From Treehugger, an innovative idea on producing disposable solar panels made from paper.

Researchers at the University of Cape Town SA have developed a protoytpe method for printing solar panels on paper…. The method seems to involve printing with modified color printers, using three or four separate print runs with black, blue, yellow and magenta inks containing tiny silicon particles. They print the metal contacts, then the semiconductor structure, then more contacts. The voltage and power output of the solar cell is determined by the size of the poster. An “A2-sized poster” will deliver up to 100W of power, enough to charge a cellphone, power a radio or provide five hours of lighting, according Prof David Britton. News coverage from SA outlets mentions that ‘Shops could stock rolls of solar panel posters, and cut it to meet a customer’s needs. The poster could be mounted behind a window or attached to a cabinet’.

Writer John Laumer points out that the poor will really benefit from such a development, as these cheap solar panels make electricity (in small amounts) affordable. John also notes that commercialization of this development could really drive the prices down on solar technology. Great find!

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