Spray-on Solar Panels May Accelerate Solar Adoption

Latest research shows the viability of highly efficient spray-on solar power which could revolutionise manufacturing processes.
Published: Tue 13 Jan 2015

Much as the original grid was driven by the invention of the light bulb and a desire for light, the next grid may well be driven by solar and the desire to harness it everywhere.

A new development may have brought the age of solar everywhere one step closer. A group at the University of Toronto, lead by Illan Kramer, has developed a new way to spray solar cells on to flexible surfaces.

Endless possibilities of solar generation

The innovations in this field continue at a remarkable pace and this technique could make solar generation a possibility on all sorts of surfaces. This will make it very attractive to the consumer electronics industry which could combine this with devices to create a trickle charge system that would prolong battery life.

Impact on solar production costs

The method could also revolutionise the manufacturing process, moving it from an expensive batch and inefficient assembly line approach to a more efficient roll-to-roll system – think continuous sheets of PVs.

It could be akin to the change in efficiency driven by Pilkington’s float glass system.

Comparable efficiency

The team, using a supercomputer, showed that this system could perform as well and in some cases better than batch processed counterparts.

“We were thrilled when this attractively manufacturable spray-coating process also led to superior performance devices showing improved control and purity,” said Professor Ted Sargent (ECE), vice dean, research in the Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering at University of Toronto and Kramer’s supervisor.

It takes little imagination to see this system, with the drive of a number of eminent research facilities behind it, further accelerating the adoption of solar.

We will leave the last word to Kramer: “My dream is that one day you’ll have two technicians with Ghostbusters backpacks come to your house and spray your roof.”

Further reading

U of T Engineering News-New Technique offers spray-on solar power