Colored PV modules are considered ideal for facade applications, as they are more visible than rooftops. However, their widespread application has been held back by the lack of a PV colorization technology that has a low impact on power conversion efficiency (PCE) and is simultaneously mass-producible at a low cost.
To address this challenge, researchers at Shanghai Jiao Tong University have created solar panels that take on colorful hues while producing energy nearly as efficiently as traditional ones. They implemented a colorization strategy based on photonic glass, which was made of a thin, disorderly layer of dielectric microscopic zinc sulfide spheres.
By a fast spray coating process, they showed that the photonic glass layer could be easily deposited on silicon solar cells, enabling them to have structural colors. Through varying microsphere sizes, solar cells with different colors were achieved, showing low PCE loss compared to normal black cells.