High Efficiency Solar Panels Demonstrated on Ski Helmet

The researchers at the Frauenhofer Institute have recently come up with some flexible high efficiency solar panels that are durable enough to use in objects such as helmets.

By the end of the year, these highly efficient flexible solar cells (more than 20 percent) will be available on the market. A unit will cost around 100 Euros. These solar cells are made of mono crystalline silicon and so the risk of rupture is not at all. Even if the cells falls down, it may survive breakage and can continue to generate solar power. Armed with these solar cells, researchers have come up with Bluetooth-ready ski helmets that can solve everybody’s issues with running out of power. They chose to work with ski helmets first, it’s because ski helmets are used in extreme temperatures which can help them optimize the performance of the solar cells (which become more efficient as temperatures drop) and the batteries (which suffer performance losses in the cold). The Frauenhofer Institute reports that Bluetooth-ready ski helmets powering devices such as phones or MP3 players, after redesign (presumably to be a bit less geeky and more integrated) and field testing, will be on sale for approximately 300 euros (about US$400) by the end of 2012. Similar helmets may be up for bike riders and rescue workers as well in near future. According to analysts, helmet-integrated communication systems will get a boost with the solar-mounted helmets. The energy can be harnessed finely to power these communication systems. Plus, the helmet users can store extra energy to recharge their phones or other handhelds on the go.