Scientists have devised ‘British weatherproof’ solar panels that generate 20% MORE energy in cloudy weather
- Improvement of the solar panel method makes it more sensitive to light
- Energy would be created in worse conditions such as drizzle and clouds
- Low thinner than human hair produce about 20% more energy in low light
Scientists claim to have developed solar technology that can produce about 20 percent more energy in cloudy weather compared to conventional solar cells.
Researchers say their so-called ‘British weatherproof’ technology is cheaper, more energy efficient and more flexible than traditional solar panels.
It is also capable of converting solar energy into electricity in low light conditions when conventional technology is not effective.
Scroll down for video
Scientists claim to have developed solar technology that can produce about 20 percent more energy in cloudy weather compared to conventional solar cells. Researchers say their so-called ‘British weatherproof’ technology is cheaper and more energy efficient
Australian researchers who created the technology believe that their work is an “important step” to make the technology commercially viable.
Professor Lianzhou Wang, of the University of Queensland, said: ‘In essence, we have developed solar technology that is British weatherproof.
‘It can produce energy indoors or even when it is cloudy and wet.
“It is also printable, flexible and transparent – meaning it can be used as a skin to power the next generation of electric cars or as a film on windows on buildings and houses.”
The technology uses small nanoparticles – called quantum dots – that are approximately five billionths of a meter and can be brought into liquid form and printed.
These can be placed on surfaces and cured to form a flexible layer that is about seven times thinner than the width of a human hair at just ten microns.
When exposed to solar energy in a solar cell device, these quantum dots pass electrons between each other to generate electrical current.
While conventional solar cells can work under cloudy conditions, Professor Wang said that quantum dot solar cells are better at producing energy because they absorb a wider spectrum of solar light compared to conventional solar cells.
Pictured, Professor Lianzhou Wang, of the University of Queensland, who says the material is ‘British weatherproof’
He said that this quantum dot makes solar cells about 20 percent more efficient in low light conditions than conventional solar cells.
Professor Wang also claimed to have achieved a 25 percent improvement in the efficiency of solar cells compared to the previous world record.
He said: ‘This opens up a huge range of potential applications, including the ability to use it as a transparent skin for aircraft, homes and portable technology.
“This new generation of quantum dots is compatible with more affordable and large-scale printable technologies.”
The research is published in the journal Nature Energy.
WHAT IS SOLAR POWER?
Solar panels convert energy from the sun into electric power (stock image)
Solar energy is the conversion of energy from sunlight into electricity.
There are two methods for generating solar energy.
Photovoltaic solar energy – the kind of solar panel that you might see built into a calculator – are capable of converting light directly into electrical power.
However, in concentrated solar energy systems, mirrors or lenses are first used to capture and focus the sunlight that falls on a large area – it creates heat that can be used to power a steam turbine and generate electricity.
The productivity of solar panels depends on the sunlight that they receive at a certain location – a factor that depends on both latitude and climate.
Optimal locations for solar parks include the dry tropics and subtropics, with deserts that lie at such low latitudes, are often cloudless and receive approximately 10 hours of sunlight every day.
According to NASA, the eastern part of the Sahara – the Libyan desert – is the sunniest place on earth.
Solar energy accounted for 1.7 percent of worldwide electricity production in 2017 and grows by 35 percent each year.