Transparent Solar Panels: A Revolutionary Look Into the Future

Solar panels are a potential renewable energy source that have multiple advantages.

Solar panels are a potential renewable energy source that have multiple advantages.

Almost all of us have encountered that fatal moment when, in just a few seconds, the power goes out. All the devices that we use on a day-to-day basis, instantly turn off. Most of us are completely unaware of our total dependence on electricity to go on with our daily lives, whether it’s for playing games on our phones, or heating food with a microwave. However, over the past couple decades, it has been noticed that the production of electricity produces greenhouse gasses that are highly detrimental to the environment. Over the years, many different methods of energy production have been designed. Unfortunately, these methods are bulky and cannot complement our current living conditions.

Solar panels provide a promising solution, as they can be placed in a multitude of places and create clean energy; however, these panels severely affect the appearance of most buildings which use them. Thankfully, scientists at Michigan State University have developed a potential solution: new solar panels that are completely transparent. These solar panels can be implemented in all the positions that windows currently hold, blending in almost everywhere while also producing sustainable energy.

But how does this mysterious technology work?

Normal solar panels work by using the sunlight to activate electrons, thereby initiating an electric current. However, with this transparent design, no light would be absorbed and used by the transparent solar panel, as all light would easily pass through. So how do they get energy? Instead of taking in visible light for energy, transparent solar panels take in infrared and ultraviolet light, of which, humans cannot see. In this way, they can stay transparent, while gaining energy. To observe only infrared and ultraviolet light and let visible light pass through, they use certain organic salts, which absorb these invisible lights and start to glow which are captured by photovoltaic strips and converted to electricity.

These transparent solar panels have many applications. They can replace glass and transparent plastic that are currently used in buildings and houses. Buildings with this new technology, will not only gain more clean energy, but also will not have to spend less on AC and heating bills as the technology also has better insulative properties compared to glass. This would give building manufacturers a good financial incentive to implement these solar panels as well as eliminate the obstacle of cost that modern solar panels face. Not only this, but all electronic devices with screens (laptops, tablets, etc.) will be able to make their own energy by being used near sunlight.

“I think we can start to see this over a couple years” states Richard Lunt, the lead researcher.

But along with the ordinary applications, this technology also has a surprising application: it can kill cancer cells, without toxifying other healthy cells. It uses fluorescent dyes that, when light hits, can destroy cancer cells. With this technology, sustainable energy for all is getting even closer to our future.


  1. Lunt, Richard R., and Vladimir Bulovic. “Transparent, Near-Infrared Organic Photovoltaic Solar Cells for Window and Energy-Scavenging Applications.” Applied Physics Letters, vol. 98, no. 11, 14 Mar. 2011, p. 113305,, 10.1063/1.3567516. Accessed 10 Mar. 2022.
  2. “Solar Power Begins to Shine as Environmental Benefits Pay off (Published 2013).” The New York Times, 2022, Accessed 10 Mar. 2022.
  3. “Power Generation You Can See Through.” MSUToday | Michigan State University, 25 Aug. 2021, Accessed 10 Mar. 2022.