Engineering Innovation Podcast and Radio Series

Spray-on Solar Power

PostedApril 18, 2010

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Randy Atkins: Direct solar power currently requires installation of glass panels, that sometimes need structural support.  But Brian Korgel, a University of Texas chemical engineering professor, is now putting tiny light-absorbing particles in a spray paint.

Brian Korgel: The pigment is this semi-conductor that we can paint on a surface, is left there as a coating and then that material is functional, as a solar cell.

Randy Atkins: The paint would be sandwiched between lightweight plastic embedded with metal conductors.

Brian Korgel: You’d actually be able to have these rolls, like of carpet, of solar cells that you essentially unfurl on your roof or put out on the top of your tent.

Randy Atkins: And then just make the electrical connections.  With the National Academy of Engineering, Randy Atkins, 103-point-5 F-M and WTOP-dot-com.


Korgel says the paint-on solar cells might be available in three to five years. To find out more go to and type in keyword “Engineering Innovation” or go to N-A-E – dot - E-D-U – slash – RADIO.