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Innovative indoor solar sheets have the potential to eliminate the need for sunlight and batteries indefinitely

Innovative indoor solar sheets have the potential to eliminate the need for sunlight and batteries indefinitely

In a clandestine printer nestled within a factory on the outskirts of Stockholm, a remarkable transformation is underway. Every six seconds, sheets worth thousands of euros each emerge, each bearing 108 miniature solar cells destined for everyday gadgets. These cells hold the promise of revolutionizing our interaction with technology and prompting a fundamental reevaluation of our relationship with light.

The unlikely setting for this solar breakthrough was inspired by the dimness of Sweden’s winter, which prompted Exeger co-founder Giovanni Fili to explore alternative power sources beyond traditional sunlight. His company’s groundbreaking technology can harvest electricity from any light source, ranging from direct sunlight to candlelight and even moonlight, albeit to a lesser extent.

“We can efficiently utilize very few photons, much like algae in the pitch-black depths of the ocean,” explains Fili, describing the technology emblazoned on his t-shirt as “world-changing,” addressing global energy needs and environmental challenges simultaneously.

Exeger’s facility in Stockholm, reputed as Europe’s largest of its kind, churns out an impressive 2.5 million square meters of solar cells annually. Fili projects that by 2030, their technology will positively impact a billion lives. Already, their solar cells have been seamlessly integrated into seven products on store shelves, including headphones, TV remotes, and tablets, with more innovations in the pipeline. Major brands like Adidas, Philips, and 3M have taken notice, signaling a paradigm shift away from reliance on small batteries.

Remarkably, this technology isn’t limited to low-power gadgets; it can also power more demanding devices like laptops, potentially extending their usage by 50 to 100 percent.

Also Read: The government is set to terminate solar net metering next month.

While indoor solar panels have existed for decades in the form of solar calculators, the limitations of amorphous silicon cells hindered their broader integration. However, a seminal discovery in 1988 concerning dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSC) laid the groundwork for a commercial breakthrough. Fili and co-founder Henrik Lindström’s 2011 invention of a new, more transparent electrode material paved the way for Powerfoyle cells, now produced at scale.

Exeger’s Powerfoyle cells depart from traditional glass-covered panels, eliminating the need for silver conductors and proving insensitive to partial shading, thereby enhancing efficiency. The patented material seamlessly integrates into various products, remaining waterproof, dustproof, and shockproof.

Exeger is just one player in a growing cadre of startups advancing indoor solar panels, all aimed at eliminating disposable batteries and ushering in a battery-free future. Ambient Photonics, another notable player, sees potential in smart home applications, aiming to reduce electronic waste and environmental impact.

Though challenges persist, such as sensitivity to heat and light, both Exeger and Ambient Photonics remain optimistic about the future. Exeger envisions a world where cables become obsolete, with sunlight powering everyday devices, fostering a newfound awareness of light’s power and presence.