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Fake pot plant is solar panel in disguise

Solar pot plant
It looks like a plant...but it doesn't taste like a plant...

Tech-heads in sunny climes probably love the futuristic look of solar panels bolted to their houses, but it’s easy to see how most normal folk might not be mad keen on all that glass and metal.

Which is probably where Mitsubishi and its partners got the idea for creating solar panels that fit in with their surroundings by mimicking the appearance of a pot plant [Japanese link].

Point to make

Ahead of this summer’s G8 environment summit in Japan, Mitsubishi, Tokki and the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) put their big brains together to come up with a solar ‘leaf’ that converts sunlight into electricity.

The eight leaves on the demonstration plant provide 60 square centimetres of light-gathering surface made up of organic thin-film solar cells covered with a thin film that protects against the elements.

Although the solar plant is just a proof of concept, the researchers hope to use the lessons learned to turn walls, windows and even clothing into power-generating units.