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July 13, 2011 / David Bleeker

Smarter Windows Add Transparent Solar Cells

All the windows in every building in the world should be generating electricity for use on-the-spot to minimize electric bills, according to Massachusetts Institute of Technology. To do that, researchers there have demonstrated transparent solar cells that harvest the heat of the sun while allowing the visible light to pass through.

Much of the heat entering buildings in summer comes from the infrared wavelengths that are invisible, prompting MIT researchers to invent a transparent solar cell that absorbs only infrared. The organic material can be coated onto glass windows to harvest the infrared that would ordinarily heat up buildings, thus allowing the windows to function normally for visible wavelengths while simultaneously generating electricity from the infrared. [read more]

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