Solar Paint

Detailed overview of innovation with sample startups and prominent university research

What it is

Solar paint is a conceptual technology that envisions paint containing tiny solar cells or light-absorbing materials that can convert sunlight into electricity. This would allow any surface coated with the paint to generate solar power.

Impact on climate action

Solar Paint in Distributed Solar PV advances climate action by transforming surfaces into solar panels. By harnessing sunlight to generate electricity, this innovation expands renewable energy access, reduces reliance on fossil fuels, and accelerates the transition to a low-carbon energy system, mitigating carbon emissions and combating climate change.


  • Photovoltaic (PV) Cells or Light-Absorbing Materials: Solar paint would contain tiny PV cells or light-absorbing materials, such as organic semiconductors or quantum dots, that can convert sunlight into electricity.
  • Paint Formulation and Application: The solar cells or light-absorbing materials would need to be integrated into a paint formulation that can be easily applied to surfaces.
  • Durability and Weather Resistance: Solar paint would need to be durable and weather-resistant to withstand harsh environmental conditions.
  • Electrical Conductivity and Interconnections: The solar cells or light-absorbing materials in the paint would need to be interconnected to collect and transmit the generated electricity.

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Prominent Innovation themes

  • High-Efficiency Light-Absorbing Materials: Researchers are developing new light-absorbing materials with high efficiencies and low production costs that could be suitable for solar paint applications.
  • Scalable Manufacturing Processes: Developing scalable and cost-effective manufacturing processes for solar paint will be crucial for its commercialization and widespread adoption.
  • Integration and Interconnection of Solar Cells: Researchers are exploring ways to integrate and interconnect tiny solar cells or light-absorbing materials within a paint formulation to enable efficient electricity generation and collection.

Other Innovation Subthemes

  • Light-Absorbing Material Advancements
  • Formulation Development for Paint Integration
  • Weather-Resistant Solar Paint
  • Innovative Interconnection Techniques
  • Advancements in Durability
  • Research on High-Efficiency Materials
  • Interconnection Optimization
  • Exploration of Spray-On Technologies
  • Quantum Dot Research for Solar Paint

Sample Global Startups and Companies

Currently, there are no startups actively developing and commercializing solar paint. The technology is still in the early stages of research and development.

Sample Research At Top-Tier Universities

  • University of Toronto:
    • Research Focus: The University of Toronto is actively researching Solar Paint as an innovative approach to harnessing solar energy. Their focus lies in developing paintable solar photovoltaic materials that can be directly applied onto various surfaces, such as building facades, windows, and roofs.
    • Uniqueness: Their research involves the synthesis and optimization of solar-absorbing nanomaterials and polymer matrices to create a thin, flexible, and transparent solar coating. This coating can efficiently convert sunlight into electricity while maintaining aesthetic appeal and durability.
    • End-use Applications: The outcomes of their work have applications in building-integrated photovoltaics (BIPV), urban infrastructure, and off-grid energy solutions. Solar Paint can transform ordinary surfaces into electricity-generating assets, enabling distributed solar energy generation in urban environments and enhancing the resilience and sustainability of buildings and infrastructure.
  • University of Sheffield:
    • Research Focus: The University of Sheffield is at the forefront of research on Solar Paint, focusing on developing novel materials and fabrication techniques for scalable and cost-effective solar coatings.
    • Uniqueness: Their research encompasses the design and characterization of semiconductor nanocrystals, organic dyes, and conductive polymers that can be incorporated into paint formulations. They also explore spray-coating, roll-to-roll printing, and inkjet deposition methods to enable large-area, high-throughput production of solar paint coatings.
    • End-use Applications: The outcomes of their work find applications in urban infrastructure, transportation, and consumer electronics. Solar Paint coatings can be applied to vehicles, signage, and electronic devices to provide on-the-go power generation and enable energy autonomy in remote or off-grid locations.
  • National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL):
    • Research Focus: NREL conducts groundbreaking research on Solar Paint, leveraging its expertise in materials science, device physics, and renewable energy technologies to advance the development and commercialization of next-generation solar coatings.
    • Uniqueness: Their research involves the evaluation of novel materials, fabrication processes, and device architectures for improving the efficiency, stability, and scalability of solar paint technologies. They also collaborate with industry partners to accelerate technology transfer and market adoption of solar paint products.
    • End-use Applications: The outcomes of their work have applications in residential, commercial, and industrial sectors. Solar Paint coatings can be applied to rooftops, walls, and infrastructure components to generate clean electricity, reduce carbon emissions, and enhance energy security.

commercial_img Commercial Implementation

Solar paint is not yet commercially available. Significant research and development are still needed to overcome technical challenges and make the technology commercially viable.