Breakthrough solar panel can harvest power from raindrops — day or night - In another advance, Chinese deploy two-sided solar panels to boost efficiency
In a truly remarkable feat of innovation, scientists have figured out how to create “hybrid” solar cells that generate power not just from sunlight but also from raindrops. This means we may soon see all-weather solar panels that work when it is cloudy and even at night, if it’s raining.
Researchers at China’s Soochow University have demonstrated a solar cell that can generate electricity from falling rain. A recent article in the American Chemical Society’s nanotechnology journal Nano describes the innovation in an article titled “Integrating a Silicon Solar Cell with a Triboelectric Nanogenerator via a Mutual Electrode for Harvesting Energy from Sunlight and Raindrops.” (https://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/acsnano.8b00416)
The device makes use of a triboelectric nanogenerator (TENG), which converts mechanical energy — motion — into electricity. In this case, the solar cells harvest power from the movement of raindrops that fall on them. Since solar panels typically generate only one tenth of their potential output during rain, and virtually nothing at night-time, the advance could address one of the biggest problems facing solar power: its variability. The potential applications of TENG include generating power from walking and typing. The recent Chinese breakthrough was to figure out how to make it work in a simple and efficient manner for a solar cell.
China has developed “double-sided” solar panels that can generate power from light that hits their underside. That can enable a 10 percent boost in output, especially if you put the panels on a roof or other area that is painted white to help reflect the suns rays. Bloomberg New Energy Finance projects these panels could capture a remarkable 40 percent share of the market by 2025.
|Breakthrough solar panel can harvest power from raindrops — day or night
In another advance, Chinese deploy two-sided solar panels to boost efficiency.