The Sun has blessed us all with an alternative energy form which could be used in various ways to generate energy without harming environment and depleting natural resources. The day is very close when all the electronic gadgets we use will work on solar power.
Given below are 10 solar power innovations to watch out for.
1. Converting Infrared Light to Electricity
Using visible light to produce electricity is a normal trend these days but researchers have found a new technique producing electricity by using Infrared rays. Titanium and Vanadium are added to the solar panel’s semiconducting material, which absorbs visible light as well as infrared light to produce electricity. The whole system has absorption limit of 63% as compared to 40% that of conventional system.
2. Thin Film Solar Record
Necessity is the mother of invention. This quote holds its true significance here. The shortage of silicon in the past few years has forced researchers to find out new alternative for thin films. In the same regard, the US National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has come up with thin solar film which resembles silicon film in appearance as well as functionality. This solar film is formed using copper indium gallium diselenide and is 19.9% efficient.
3. CoolEarth Inflatable Solar Balloons
Most of the companies are trying to cut down on the use of photovoltaic cells as they are very expensive. But the question is that if not photovoltaic than what? To answer this question CoolEarth is working on its inflatable solar collectors. These balloons are 400 times cheaper than the concentrators of similar size and can be mounted on wires further reducing any installation charges. Maintenance is as easy as installation. Any small damage could be healed with tape and replacement also takes not more than 15 minutes.
4. ‘Hairy’ Thin Film Solar Panels
History is full of strange and weird inventions. To add to it, one researcher has found out a technique of growing light absorbing nanowires on carbon-nanotube material. This strange research of growing high efficiency photovoltaic material has been carried out by the researchers of McMaster University. The aim is to produce cheap and high performance solar cells.
5. Moth Eyes Biomimicry for Solar Panels
Silicon is coated with anti-reflective material to increase its light absorbing capability so that more electricity could be produced from it, but still the process in not very effective. To find a solution to this problem, researchers noticed that moths have non-reflective eyes for defense against night predators. Moth-eye efficiency could be realized from the fact that it reflects back only 2% light.
6. Day4 Energy’s Innovation
There have been many successful innovations in the laboratory that have defeated the performance of solar PV, but only few were feasible enough to reach the market. Day4 Energy’s has recently made a practical innovation by increasing the efficiency of their solar cells to 17-18%, which could reduce its cost by approximately 25%. These solar panels will be soon available in the market.
7. 1366 Technologies Bringing Solar Power Closer to $1/Watt
1366 Technologies, silicon photovoltaic manufacturing company is ready with its prototype of multi-crystalline silicon solar panel. Making three different innovations to the conventional multi-crystalline silicon solar panels have improved its efficiency by 20%.
8. Solaria: 90% of the Power with 50% of the Silicon
Solaria’s solar cells produce 90% of the usual solar panel’s energy by using only 50% of silicon. Thus it is very cost effective method of producing energy. Unlike conventional solar panels that have silicon covering all over the surface, Solaria slices the silicon into small strips and places them away from each other so that they no wrap the whole panel surface. Instead, a molded plastic cover collects the entire light from panels and transfers it to the silicon strips, thus increasing the efficiency and reducing the cost.
9. Sunrgi’s Extremely Concentrated Photovoltaic Cells
Sunrgi have claimed that they will shortly create electricity at wholesale cost of 5 cents kWh by using an innovating technique. They will do so by focusing Sun’s light to 2,000 times into exceptionally efficient solar photovoltaic cells.
10. Japan Hopes to Have Solar Power Station in Space by 2030
Japan has always amazed world with its innovations and technologies. With the intention of doing the same, Japan is working on a Solar Power Station that will be installed in space by 2030. It will be a massive and a costly investment. It is estimated that orbiting portion alone could stretch for kilometers and weigh 10,000 tonnes.