Barry Breen
3G Solar Photovoltaics CEO Barry Breen (Credit: 3G Solar Photovoltaics video)

Solar panels are installed where they can absorb sunlight. But a different type of solar technology is designed to harvest indoor light instead.

Barry Breen is CEO of 3G Solar Photovoltaics in Jerusalem, Israel. His company’s solar cells work under fluorescent or LED lights. The technology is based on dyes.

Breen: “It is a material which is photoactive. It collects light and converts it to electricity at the lowest possible light levels.”

3G solar cells are designed for use in wireless electronics, such as sensors that manage a building’s heating and cooling system.

These smart building systems are gaining popularity as people look for ways to increase energy efficiency. But the sensors usually run on batteries that need to be replaced annually. So Breen says his dye-based cells are an improvement.

Breen: “Our energy source, which is integrated and part of the sensor, will keep it operating without any maintenance – without replacing batteries – for its entire lifetime.”

He says the technology could also power sensors that are used in agriculture, hospitals, and shipping. So a growing number of solar devices may never actually see the sun.

Reporting credit: ChavoBart Digital Media.

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Diana Madson

Diana Madson contributed regularly to Yale Climate Connections from 2014 to 2021. She enjoys exploring U.S.-based stories about unexpected and innovative solutions to climate change. In addition to her...