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Solar panels
Luminescent solar concentrator panels. (Western Washington University Photo)

Groundbreaking solar panel technology developed at two Washington universities has been licensed by a company out of Los Alamos, N.M., and could signal a shift in the way energy is collected from the sun.

The luminescent solar concentrator (LSC) technology panels were created at Western Washington University’s Advanced Materials Science and Engineering Center in partnership with the University of Washington. Nanotechnology development company UbiQD has signed an exclusive agreement with the schools.

The panels are partially transparent and lightweight, unlike typical heavy opaque solar panels. This could enable windows or other surfaces, such as building facades, to become solar collectors, according to a news release from WWU.

“We envision a world where sunlight harvesting is ubiquitous, a future where our cities are powered by quantum dot-tinted glass on skyscrapers,” said Hunter McDaniel, founder and CEO of UbiQD. “UbiQD is making tremendous progress already in translating quantum dots and LSC tech into viable products and a scalable business model.”

David Patrick, a professor of chemistry at Western, spoke to the significance of the agreement and how laboratory discoveries can translate to the marketplace.

“The fact that so many Western undergraduate students participated in the research, development and demonstration of this technology speaks volumes for the importance of our public institutions’ roles as innovators and partners with entrepreneurs in the private sector like UbiQD,” Patrick said.

Along with funding from the National Science Foundation, Western worked with the UW’s CoMotion Innovation Center.

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