The concept of spray-on tans and spray-on tattoos probably isn’t so far fetched to most people, but spray-on solar cells? As odd as it sounds, the ability to harness the sun’s energy through sprayable solar cells could soon be coming to a roof near you.
Researchers at the University of Toronto have recently developed new technology that would give people a cheaper and less obstructive way to use solar panels on their roof. Called SprayLD (the LD stands for “layer deposition”), the new spray-on solar cells would allow solar experts to spray surfaces with the innovative new solution to create thin solar panels for homes and other buildings.
“My dream is that one day you’ll have two technicians with Ghostbusters backpacks come to your house and spray your roof,” said University of Toronto electoral and computer engineer Illan Kramer, according to Discovery News.
Researchers used small, solar-sensitive colloidal quantum particles mixed in a solution to create the liquid solar material. They then used a spray nozzle to apply the solution to various flexible film surfaces to create their very own solar cells.
So what’s so great about spray-on solar cells, anyway? First of all, the current technology used for solar energy is pretty expensive, and installing solar panels on a roof costs homeowners a good chunk of change — even though the long-term energy and financial savings offset those expenses. SprayLD technology, however, would drastically reduce both production and installation costs.
The second factor has to do with aesthetics. The solar panels that are typically used for residential and commercial purposes today are bulky, and their presence on homeowners’ roofs is fairly obvious. Some homeowners associations would even consider modern solar panels an eyesore and prevent homeowners from having them installed altogether.
Spray-on cells are applied to much thinner, flexible surfaces and are barely noticeable when installed on a roof.
Aside from the cost and aesthetic benefits of spray-on solar cells, they could also be used to charge smaller electronic devices, such as smartphones. The diverse applications of sprayable solar cells open up a whole new set of doors for the solar industry.