Monash University researchers have moved one step closer to creating technology that could mean a future populated by self-powered buildings.

Two projects led by the university have been seeking ways to make the harnessing of solar energy easier, cheaper and more efficient. The results suggest that, in the near future, this could be done through both windows and walls.

Monash associate professors, Jacek Jasieniak and Chris McNeill, received $0.75 million and $0.85 million in government funding to realise their projects. While Jasieniak’s focus was on the creation of “extremely thin” and low-cost solar cells made from perovskites, McNeill’s project worked towards the creation of a particular semi-conductive plastic that is lightweight, flexible and easy to manufacture. According to a statement released by Monash, both of these projects “will increase the potential real-world applications of solar cells and accelerate commercial development of this new technology”.

“Eventually this type of perovskite device will be around 15 [percent] more efficient and significantly cheaper than current amorphous silicon technologies,” says Jasieniak of his own project.

“It will create a cost-competitive option for building-integrated PV windows, which doesn’t exist at the moment.”