CSIRO scientists have announced that they are one step closer to making available a cheaper and faster way to print solar cells onto plastic.

Senior Research Scientist Dr Fiona Scholes said the technology was almost at the commercialisation stage and could be used to power everything from laptops to rooftops.

“We print them onto plastic in more or less the same way we print our plastic banknotes,” she said. “Connecting our solar panels is as simple as connecting a battery.”

The researchers used commercial printers that were modified to take solar ink. The solar ink can be semi-transparent, tinting glass while enabling it to generate electricity.

Several companies, including leading Australian solar dye cell manufacturer, Dyesol, have expressed interest in helping to commercialise the technology.

The team is now working on a solar spray coating.