UCLA Scientists Invent Cheap, Bendy Solar Panels That Could Charge Your Car, Phone
A new method of collecting the sun’s energy and using it to power man’s devices is being perfected by Yang Yang, a researcher with the university’s School of Engineering. Just yesterday, Yang announced that his signature brand of cheap, bendy “solar cell” has broken the world efficiency record in its class by converting 10.6 percent of sunlight into power.
Within five years, Yang says he fully expects to raise his cells’ efficiency to 15 or even 20 percent — allowing them to power everyday machines like cars and cell phones.
The cells are made of “organic polymer” instead of the traditional silicon, making them more flexible than those used in today’s brittle solar panels. Embed the new flexi-cells into a sheet, says Yang, and the possibilities will be endless. We’ll be able to hang solar shades in front of our windows; apply them like stickers (in different colors!) to the rooftops of our electric cars; even slap them onto the backs of our iPhones.