Solar roofs on cars may be small, but crazy exciting.
The short version:
- Frauhofer ISE has invented a way to have solar panels be any color the customer would like.
- The coloring reduces efficiency by 7%.
- The individual solar cells are “shingled” together like roof-top shingles.
- The cells also have a special colored coating inspired by the morpho butterfly, which makes the solar cells nearly invisible.
- The new product has a power output of about 210 watts per square meter.
- Fraunhofer says it can add about 10% to the range of a typical electric car.
I”ve made this comment on other posts and I’ll make it again here. 10% may not sound too exciting but think about two things. First, how much of your battery do you typically run down in a single day? I live 10 miles from my office. My commute would be around 12%. That means I’m basically driving for free. But let’s say you’re not as lucky as me, and your live 20 miles from your workplace. That still means your “fuel” costs get cut in half. That’s pretty awesome.
Second, like the article points out, think about what this could do to the semi-truck industry. Those trailers have huge flat surfaces just waiting to soak up the sun. You’re going to get way more than 10% improvement. That starts bringing the cost of goods down, and money in our pockets.