URI researchers work with flexible solar cells

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – A University of Rhode Island professor has created solar cells that could someday be placed on highway structures to harvest energy from the sun.

URI environmental engineering professor Wayne Lee leads the group that has created flexible solar cells.

The cells can be wrapped around the top of highway dividers and capture solar energy, said Lee. He floated this idea to the Rhode Island Department of Transportation, but they turned him down for now.

Lee's putting some flexible solar cells on the roof of his building at URI to power the building's entrance light. He said he'll need a full year to see how well the solar cells perform in different weather conditions.

Lee's group is also working on a project that puts water pipes underneath asphalt, using heat in the asphalt to warm up the water below.

Do you have insight or expertise on this topic? Please email us, we'd like to hear from you. news@wrni.org.