The first fully transparent solar cell harnesses wavelengths of light that are invisible to the human eye in order to generate power.

Digital Trends contributor Chloe Olewitz reports on a Michigan State University research team that has created a transparent solar panel—a breakthrough that could soon usher in a world where windows, panes of glass, and even entire buildings could be used to generate solar energy.

Challenges remain to develop a scalable, cheap enough solution. Olewitz writes:

Versions of previous semi-transparent solar cells that cast light in colored shadows can usually achieve efficiency of around seven percent, but Michigan State’s TLSC is expected to reach a top efficiency of five percent with further testing (currently, the prototype’s efficiency reaches a mere one percent). While numbers like seven and five percent efficiency seem low, houses featuring fully solar windows or buildings created from the organic material could compound that electricity and bring it to a more useful level.

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