One of the biggest challenges for solar power system creation is the production of the solar panels. Although solar energy itself leaves no carbon footprint, the manufacturing process does. Engineers at Oregon State University may have a solution to this problem.

Solar power may soon deliver enough energy to produce the solar panels without the use of traditional power sources. The sun is capable of producing copper indium diselenide ink, which is effective for use in solar energy production. This ink can be used to coat windows and other surfaces, effectively turning them into solar panels. The ink is extremely thin and versatile, and can convert solar power at rates of around 20 percent.

Not only is this production capability more energy-efficient; it is also faster. The process allows for solar technology to be produced in a matter of minutes, which is a significant improvement over current production times. This means that more materials can be made for less money, meaning that the cost of adding solar capability to a home may drop dramatically once this technology is put in place on a large scale.

With this new advance in solar panel system technology, the carbon emissions impact is reduced to virtually zero. The only consideration will be the transportation of the ink—a problem easily remedied by using electric vehicles instead of gas-powered ones for transportation and distribution. As researchers continue to study solar power, it is possible that solar energy will one day become the true zero-emissions energy source it is intended to be.