Find out what solar panels cost in your area in 2024
Please enter a five-digit zip code.
Your information is safe with us. Privacy Policy
Solar paint

Imagine if, with just a coat of paint, you could generate enough energy to power your entire house or car – one of the solar industry's newest innovations could help make that possible! As solar energy becomes increasingly popular, scientists continue to find new ways to improve current technologies and explore new alternatives to expand access to clean energy.

While solar panels are by far the most popular (and most efficient) way for homeowners to generate solar electricity, panels aren't a good fit for all buildings. There are a few ways to get around this: you could install a different system setup, like a solar canopy or ground-mounted system, or you could sign up for community solar, which provides a discount on your electricity bill without installing a single solar panel. One of the newest innovations in the solar industry comes in a very familiar form: paint! Solar paint is a new technology that aims to work as regular paint while still generating electricity from the sun.

Find out what solar panels cost in your area in 2024
Please enter a five-digit zip code.
  • 100% free to use, 100% online
  • Access the lowest prices from installers near you
  • Unbiased Energy Advisors ready to help

Key takeaways

  • Solar paint is a new technology that mixes solar cells with liquid to generate electricity.

  • There are three types of solar paint: quantum dot solar cells, hydrogen-producing solar paint, and perovskite solar paint.

  • Scientists are still developing solar paint, but it will hopefully be an available solar solution soon.

  • While you cannot buy solar paint yet, you can start your solar journey today and get multiple quotes from pre-screened installers through the EnergySage Marketplace.

Solar paint is not one specific product but rather a series of similar technologies in development that aim to generate electricity from the sun using liquid instead of large hardware. This idea has been tossed around in the renewable energy scientific community for years and is now closer than ever to becoming a reality.

Three types of solar paint currently in development have demonstrated the most potential: quantum dot solar cells, hydrogen-producing solar paint, and perovskite solar paint. While these cutting-edge systems are the furthest along, the exciting world of solar continues to evolve, with new technologies constantly emerging.

Quantum dot solar cells

Quantum dot solar cells, AKA photovoltaic paint, is a system that incorporates nanoparticles into solar cells to capture a broader spectrum of light than traditional solar panels. Unlike solar cells in panels that only capture visible light, this technology could help harness energy from infrared rays, which are not part of visible light, making solar energy systems more efficient. The nanoparticles in these advanced solar cells are so small that you could theoretically mix them into liquid paint and apply it in thin layers. This paint could then be used on current solar panel systems to improve energy output or even create new kinds of solar systems altogether.

Hydrogen-producing solar paint

Hydrogen is one of the cleanest fuel sources available and the most plentiful element globally. Finding ways to harvest hydrogen energy has been an ongoing project in the renewable energy research community. Hydrogen-producing solar paint can create electricity from water vapor by taking moisture from the air, then separating the oxygen and hydrogen within the water molecules using solar energy. Once you isolate the hydrogen, you can use it to produce clean energy.

You can use this technology in a range of climates (humid or not), and the water doesn't need to be filtered to work. If there are UV rays and water vapor in the air, this paint should be able to yield hydrogen.

Perovskite solar paint

Perovskite solar paint, AKA spray-on solar cells, is named after Russian mineralogist Lev Perovski who discovered perovskite crystals. Mineral compounds from perovskite crystals can conduct an electric charge when lightning strikes, which is why they are often used in solar cells. Even better, perovskite solar cells can take a liquid form and still conduct electricity, which makes them the perfect candidate for solar paint.

Scientists have been testing spray-on perovskite solar cells in a thin film that you could use to create a tint for windows or layer onto roofs or outer walls of buildings.

Many of these projects are innovative and cost-effective but not yet commercially available. As scientists work to ensure that the energy produced by these paints can be channeled effectively and put to work, they remain faced with several unanswered questions. With the quickly evolving nature of the solar world, we'll hopefully start to see these products as an accessible solar energy solution soon.

While solar paint might not yet be available in a store near you, there are already several great ideas for applying the paint to generate clean energy for everyday use in the future.

  • Add to existing clean energy systems: You could apply solar paint to homes with solar panel systems to improve efficiency and aid other renewable energy projects. For example, you could paint wind turbines to help keep a continuous stream of energy even on still days as long as the sun is shining.

  • Apply to walls or windows of buildings or homes: Not all construction is a good fit for solar panels, but solar paint could be easily applied to walls, roofs, and, with thinner paint, such as the spray-on solar cells – even windows. This would make solar energy even more accessible to homeowners and offices, making saving money and reducing your carbon footprint easier than ever.

  • Apply to solar vehicles: There's been some discussion about adding solar to electric vehicles (EV), and this technology could be as simple as adding a fresh coat of paint.

This revolutionary research is improving the renewable energy industry, but it could be years away from being a viable option for everyday use. Fortunately, you don't have to wait on these paints to go solar. Using the EnergySage Marketplace, you can find local solar installers near you and easily compare all your solar options. You'll receive multiple quotes from pre-screened installers to compare equipment, financing options, costs, savings, and more!

Find out what solar panels cost in your area in 2024
Please enter a five-digit zip code.
  • 100% free to use, 100% online
  • Access the lowest prices from installers near you
  • Unbiased Energy Advisors ready to help
Back to the top
Did you find this page helpful?
Discover whole-home electrification
Home solar
House with rooftop solar panels

Create your own clean energy with solar panels.

Community solar
Solar farm

Enjoy the benefits of solar without rooftop panels.

Heating & cooling
Heat pump

Explore heat pumps, the latest in clean heating & cooling technology.

See solar prices near you.

Enter your zip code to find out what typical solar installations cost in your neighborhood.

Please enter a five-digit zip code.