Flexible Glass Solar Cells Could Boost Effectiveness of Solar Shingles

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Willow GlassU.S. researchers have developed a solar shingle made of flexible glass that could emerge as an alternative to conventional roof shingles and drive down the costs of rooftop solar energy systems.

Unlike conventional solar panels, which are bulky and breakable, the new solar cell built by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory is durable enough to last for decades, according to MIT’s Technology Review.

While typical panels must be mounted on top of asphalt shingles, the glass solar shingles can be nailed directly onto a roof instead of conventional shingles. The cells are made of a pliable material called Willow Glass, which was developed by Corning, the company that also makes the so-called Gorilla glass for iPhone screens.

According to researchers, the glass can also utilize cadmium telluride — which can compete on a cost basis with more widely used silicon solar cells — as the solar cell material.

Article appearing courtesy Yale Environment 360.

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Yale Environment 360 is an online magazine offering opinion, analysis, reporting and debate on global environmental issues. We feature original articles by scientists, journalists, environmentalists, academics, policy makers, and business people, as well as multimedia content and a daily digest of major environmental news. Yale Environment 360 is published by the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies and Yale University. We are funded in part by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. The opinions and views expressed in Yale Environment 360 are those of the authors and not of the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies or of Yale University.