Infrared Plastic Solar Cells: Price, pros, and cons
It is time to switch to a cleaner, renewable energy source and make the most of the gigantic power station in the sky above, the Sun.
The Sun has enough fuel to drive our energy systems for another billion years, and a solar cell can help you capture this energy into an endless, convenient electricity supply.
Scientists have been coming up with various solar cells to maximise utility, and an infrared plastic solar cell is one such innovation. This type of solar cell has the capability to transform the Sun’s power into electric energy even on a low-light, cloudy day.
Nanotechnology, in combination with other latest techniques, is used to create the infrared plastic solar cell. It helps harness the Sun’s invisible infrared rays.
Explore this guide and learn in detail about what a solar cell is, its types, prices, pros and cons, working, and more.
What is an Infrared Plastic Solar Cell?
The infrared plastic solar cell uses nanotechnology that enables it to harness the Sun’s invisible infrared rays.
Usually, top companies use Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS), Acrylic/Plexiglass, or Polypropylene plastics to make solar panels. An infrared plastic solar cell has the potential to be five times more efficient than regular solar cells.
Although the work is similar to other solar cells, these plastic solar cells come in small sizes. Yet, they capture almost all the rays from the Sun’s radiation.
Their small size and lightweight impart them unusual and interesting properties. Unlike conventional solar cells, an infrared plastic solar cell can turn the Sun’s rays into electric energy even on a cloudy day.
How are Infrared Plastic Solar Cells Made?
An infrared plastic cell is made up of nanoparticles called quantum dots and a polymer capable of detecting energy in the infrared region.
The plastic material uses nanotechnology. It has first-generation solar cells for harnessing power from the Sun’s invisible infrared rays.
The plastic solar cell is a hybrid comprising tiny nanorods that lie dispersed in an organic polymer–P3HT (poly-3hexylthiophene). The nanorods are composed of cadmium selenide.
A layer of approximately 200 nm of nanorods stays sandwiched between electrodes, and the electrodes are aluminum-coated. Thus, conducting plastic (a polymer with conjugated double bonds) is required to allow electrons to move through the nanorods.
Working of an Infrared Plastic Solar Cell
The nanorods of the infrared plastic solar cell behave like wires when they absorb the Sun’s light rays of a specific wavelength. These nanorods generate an electron as well as an electron-hole.
The generated electron travels the length of the rod unless the aluminium electrode collects it. The electron-hole gets transferred to the plastic and conveyed to the electrode in order to create a current.
The closely packed nanorods transfer the electrons more directly to the electrolyte. The energy capture and the transmission process are quick. Moreover, suitability for cloudy days and shady areas makes infrared plastic solar cells an ideal option for solar power generation.
Infrared Plastic Cell Price: An Overview
Usually, the infrared plastic cell price is high due to the involvement of the latest technology. However, several companies offer reasonable prices. They have made plastic solar cells flexible enough to adhere to any surface; thereby, increasing the vastness of applications of these cells.
- The average price of a 10 Watt plastic solar panel ranges from Rs. 800-1200. The price for a 100 Watt plastic solar panel falls in the range of Rs. 4000-5000.
- The price for a 200 Watt plastic solar panel goes up to Rs.10,000.
A general rule of thumb: as the wattage increases, the prices soar higher.
Pros and Cons of Infrared Plastic Solar Cell
An infrared plastic solar cell is a far more promising option than a conventional solar cell. It has several advantages, but there are a few disadvantages too. Let’s find out both.
- Efficiency: These solar cells are 30% more efficient than conventional solar cells.
- Lightweight: Traditional solar panels are bulky, while infrared plastic solar panels are compact and lightweight.
- Consistency: These infrared plastic solar cells turn the Sun’s power into a clean and consistent energy source. They are suitable for cloudy and low light days too.
- Usability: Conventional solar cells are suitable for large applications. On the other hand, plastic solar cells are feasible and can be used on window panes too.
- High cost is the biggest hurdle in the path of the popularity of infrared plastic solar cells. However, brands are working on reducing costs.
- These solar cells have a shorter life when exposed to sunlight for long durations.
- They often require constant monitoring.
The cost of solar energy is falling at a fast pace as newer technologies step in. It is estimated that solar energy is on course to provide 20% of the world’s energy needs by 2027.
Using an infrared plastic solar cell ensures a low maintenance cost and long-lasting energy. It is a non-polluting, silent electricity source with a sustainable power supply.
Nanotechnology in infrared plastic solar cells makes them far more cost-effective than conventional solar cells.
1. How is a solar cell different from a plastic solar cell?
A solar cell is a crystalline cell typically made of silicon. A plastic solar cell uses carbon-based materials to produce electricity from the Sun. It is also called a polymer solar cell.
2. What is the advantage of an infrared plastic solar cell over a conventional solar cell?
The major advantage of an infrared plastic solar cell is that it can work on cloudy days, while a conventional solar cell cannot.
Thus, the efficiency of plastic solar cells is higher than regular solar cells. Also, conventional solar cells are bulkier, while plastic cells are less bulky, lightweight, and compact.
3. What plastics are used in solar panels?
The most commonly used plastics for solar panels are as follows:
- Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS).