Chalk up another point for MIT, bounteous font of great boffinry – their latest offering to the world is a solar cell you can print out onto paper. However, I wouldn’t get too excited about it:
… the new solar cells are created by coating paper with organic semiconductor material using a process similar to an inkjet printer.
The MIT researchers used carbon-based dyes to “print” the cells, which are about 1.5 to 2 percent efficient at converting sunlight to electricity. That falls well short of the more than 40 percent efficiency record for a multi-junction solar cell, or even the recent 19 percent efficiency record for silicon ink-based solar cells. But Vladimir Bulovic, director of the Eni-MIT Solar Frontiers Research Center, told CNET any material could be used to print onto the paper solar cells if it was deposited at room temperature.
It will still be some time before solar cells can be installed with a staple gun, however, as the paper variety are still in the research phase and are years from being commercialized.
Drill, baby, drill?