Solar panels have become more affordable recently, so there is more interest in them on the part of both consumers and business owners. It also appears that they will continue to decrease in price.

Imagine though if you could print your own solar panels on a 3D printer at home. If this process was possible, it certainly would make it easier to work with solar panels, because there would be no shipping and handling. There wouldn’t be any waiting period, or potential damage while the panels were en route, because they would be printed in your own garage.

An Australian research scientist said that printable solar panels are not that far away, “iPad covers, laptop bags, skins of iPhone – not just for casing electronics but to collect some energy as well and power those electronics.”

If it sounds like the process of printing solar panels using a DIY approach would be too expensive, she said it was very cheap. She and her research team were able to print up  to the A3 size (11 x 17)  at low cost.

The implications of DIY solar printing are huge because of the hacker culture that already exists. Consumer electronics users often modify their computers, cameras, music players, cars and mobile devices.

The zeal that people have for creativity can cause them to make improvements to existing technologies. When we all have the ability to make things with 3D printers, this hacker mentality will probably only increase.

The ability to make energy for ourselves, using our own ingenuity is exciting and could save us all money, because we won’t be entirely dependent upon utilities.

So, what is your interest level in printable solar panels? Would you like to try printing your own, or would you rather simply buy solar panels that are already complete and only need to be mounted?