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Solar Panels in a Can Are More Likely Than You Might Think

For decades, traditional silicon-based solar panels have been too cost prohibitive to install on large scales for many consumers. New racking and mounting technology, like those designed and offered by Solar FlexRack, have come a long way in maximizing solar panel production efficiency while minimizing installation costs, but there’s a limit to how cheaply the solar panels themselves can be manufactured.

A revolutionary new technology is under development, and it might completely change the way the world sees and buys solar panels. According to a new study from St. Mary’s College of Maryland, a technology called “thin film photovoltaics” is under development, and could realistically replace traditional silicon-based PV panels. This thin film, comprised of organic materials on a nanoscale (think really, really small), could feasibly be sprayed onto certain materials in order to create pseudo PV panels. Theoretically, one spray can of this material could allow the average resident to turn just about any non-conductive substance into a makeshift solar panel.

The technology is still years away from being developed fully. One of the biggest challenges of the substance is its organic nature, which makes it less reliable and more vulnerable to degradation over time. However, if the technology is somehow combined with traditional inorganic materials, the resulting hybrid could combine the flexibility and cost-effectiveness of a spray with the longevity and reliability of a traditional panel.

However it develops, we’re still years away from seeing it on the shelves of a local Home Depot. For the foreseeable future, solar panels will continue to be the cost-effective solar energy generators of choice, and Solar FlexRack will continue to lead the way with innovative solar trackers, solar racks, and other developments designed to improve their efficiency.