The University of Newcastle in New South Wales is trialing solar panels printed on sheets of clear plastic. These can be produced very quickly, making them ideal for shipping by air to emergency locations.

The material is made by printing an advanced electronic ink onto paper-thin, clear laminated sheets using a conventional printing presses. A team at the University pf Newcastle, led by Professor Paul Dastoor, pioneered both the electronic ink and the printing process.

Professor Dastoor says that “No other renewable energy solution can be manufactured as quickly. On our lab-scale printer we can easily produce hundreds of metres of material per day, on a commercial-scale printer this would increase to kilometres. If you had just ten of these printers operating around the clock we could print enough material to deliver power to 1,000 homes per day.”