See-Through Solar Panels Are a Window To Wider UsageS

New technologies have a greater chance at being accepted and embraced when they're easy to adopt. And to help the spread of solar power Sharp has developed a new see-through solar cell, allowing them to be used as architectural accents that blend into a building.

So instead of having to cover a roof or fill a property with an array of unsightly panels pointed at the sun, these new cells can be used as protective railings on a balcony, or even as regular windows in places where complete visibility isn't a necessity. However, besides being just semi-transparent, the new panels only output about 95 watts of energy at around 6.8 percent efficiency. And when you compare that to the 20 percent efficiency boasted by some of the most advanced panels in use today, there are some obvious trade-offs to the new technology. But every little bit helps, and Sharp plans to roll out the solar panels starting October 1 in Japan. As for the rest of the world? Hopefully shortly thereafter. [Sharp Japan via CNET]