Since the concept of solar energy was first introduced
While the majority of the scientific community agrees that the ease of use brought by thin solar film is the future of the industry, the struggle has been finding a way to make the thin solar films as durable and efficient as the bulky silicon panels. There had been some product advancements when Armstrong's research into making thin panels began, but they required the use of heavy metals which raised environmental concerns. Eventually his team was able to produce functional solar film.
The appeal of the film is that it can be placed almost anywhere with exposure to sunlight. Walls, roofs, and even windows can hold the film and its benefits are not limited to cheap, renewable energy. When placed on a window, solar film can act as additional insulation without significantly blocking sunlight. The film comes tinted in a variety of shades for those who wish to reduce incoming heat or excessive glare. Another benefit to using the film is that it blocks out heat and UV rays, thus virtually eliminating fade on fabrics. Also, since it doesn't let heat in or out, the use of thin solar film can have a significant impact on heating and cooling bills.
Effective as it is, this polyester-based solar film isn't quite what Armstrong and his team have been working for. The team at the University of Arizona is trying to develop a way to use carbon, hydrogen, and other organic compounds to harness solar energy. They believed that once they are successful the industry will again be revolutionized as it was when the first thin solar films became available and its true potential will then be realized.
Will solar energy replace fossil fuels and other natural energies? It is an undeniable fact that nonrenewable resources, by their very nature, are finite and scientists are searching for ways to harness renewable forms of energy before these resources run out. While water-based and wind-based energy systems are promising in their potential, there is great hope that the advancements in solar energy, especially that of thin solar film, will become our primary energy source.