Scientists achieve major breakthrough with lightweight, printable solar technology: A viable method

Scientists at Australia’s CSIRO are pioneering the development of thin, flexible solar cells with diverse applications, ranging from buildings and vehicles to clothing and wearable devices. Their breakthrough promises sustainable power solutions, as highlighted in a recent lab report from the Australian national science agency.

CSIRO’s renewable energy systems group leader, Anthony Chesman, described it as a significant step forward, emphasizing the viability of this method for solar cell production. The photo shared by CSIRO resembles long strips of camera film, showcasing the innovative printing process.

Efficiency has been a key focus for the CSIRO team, aiming to scale up production without compromising performance. While previous iterations achieved only 1% to 2% efficiency, the latest versions boast an impressive 11% efficiency for larger prints. This accomplishment required meticulous analysis and optimization of the printing process, enabling rapid production and testing of thousands of solar cells daily.

The use of perovskite, a crystal-like material, has been instrumental in enabling the printing process. This material, known for its sun-capturing capabilities, allows for the creation of flexible solar cells that are both cost-effective and energy-efficient. By replacing expensive metals with cheaper carbon in the ink, the CSIRO team has achieved significant cost savings.

Looking ahead, CSIRO envisions a wide range of applications for these printable solar cells, from powering industries to supporting disaster response efforts and space exploration missions. With solar energy projects accounting for a significant portion of global renewable energy additions, the printable cells offer a promising solution for harnessing solar power efficiently, even at the domestic level.

The potential benefits extend beyond energy savings, with solar installations contributing to pollution reduction and improved air quality. By collaborating with industry partners, CSIRO aims to bring this groundbreaking technology to market, paving the way for a sustainable and cleaner energy future.


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