These super-thin flexible solar cells turn fabrics into solar panels

With the power demand of gaming continuing to rise, renewable energy is even more important. And not only from an environmental perspective—having solar panels on my house is half the reason I can afford to run all my weird electronics. We can even potentially harness energy from any heat source using inverted solar panels (opens in new tab). The future of a high-tech home is undoubtedly powered at least in part by solar energy, and now that future is coming to fabrics.

Researchers at MIT (opens in new tab) have developed a paper-thin solar cell that can be added to any surface. Thanks to the lightweight and flexible nature, this means fabrics, and that has the potential to open up a world of possibilities. Think of wearables that don’t need to be charged, battery jackets, tents that power themselves, solar sails on actual boats. Of course, there are some hurdles that need to be overcome first.

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