A game-changing printed solar technology developed by Professor Paul Dastoor from the University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia promises cheaper electricity systems and a green future. Dastoor visions a future where most roofs would be covered in printed solar panels, which would be less than one millimetre thick.
The University of Newcastle professor said that their vision was to see every building and every structure’s power generated by solar cells. Dastoor and a team of five people installed a 200-square-meter sheet array of solar panels printed on recycled plastic, on a factory rooftop, in just a single day. The installation, the first of its kind globally, can be produced for less than $10 per square meter. And, the panels are said to use electronic inks that are printed onto sub-millimetre thin plastic sheets.
The panels were developed sometime in May 2017, and are now being tested in a six-month pilot installation on a pallet repair facility in Australia. If the pilot proves to be efficient, then solar technology would most likely move into a more widely-available commercial market in the coming years. Meanwhile, according to sources, the cheap and easy-to-setup material would make signing up for energy accounts quite simple. It would be as easy as signing up for a new phone plan.
In this context, Dastoor reiterated that it was a historic step in the evolution of the technology and an example of private enterprise and community leading the charge in adopting renewables. Dastoor reiterated that those working in technology development used a NASA developed Technology Readiness Levelor (TRL) system to determine how evolved their solutions were, with one being the lowest and 9 the highest. He added that they were rated TRL 8 and were considered ‘greenlit’.
Though the technology is still in the trial stage, Dastoor and his team’s vision is to have a world where every building in every country had printed solar cells generating low-cost sustainable energy. And, this latest installation could bring the goal of solar roofs a step closer to reality.