Solar energy is one of the most promising sources of energy for the very near future, which will require a large number of renewable sources of electricity. The ever-increasing population of the planet daily needs a colossal amount of resources, which on Earth, unfortunately, are not unlimited. However, no matter how useful the modern technology for manufacturing solar panels for the global energy industry, devices from the beginning of the 21st century are not capable of generating electricity at night. However, according to an article published on sciencealert.com, most recently, scientists have the opportunity to design panels that can work almost around the clock.
Can solar panels generate electricity at night?
Solar energy is one of the latest trends in modern science. As the main equipment for converting solar energy into electrical energy, experts most often use solar panels and solar collectors, which are able to be useful not only in industrial, but also for domestic needs. Be that as it may, modern equipment designed to generate solar energy is not able to work effectively at night for seemingly completely natural reasons. However, according to a new study, the invention of scientists from the University of California at Davis can solve a similar obstacle to humanity’s path to a powerful source of renewable energy. So, specially designed photovoltaic cells are capable of generating at night a quarter of the energy that they produce during the day.
In order to achieve this, experts intend to include thermo-radiation cells – mechanisms that can generate energy thanks to the so-called radiation cooling. Designed mechanisms help infrared or thermal radiation leave the cell and produce a small amount of energy during this process. At present, thermoradiation elements are already undergoing the necessary tests for their implementation in production, mainly used for converting waste heat in engines.
Currently, scientists are trying to find the optimal combination of materials and electronics, which can help in creating the most efficient solar panel using the night sky as a heat sink. Researchers argue that solar farms with thermo-radiation elements at their disposal can be able to produce up to 50 watts of energy per square meter, which should help not only to increase the efficiency of existing solar panels, but also when using unique equipment in conditions of severe shortage of alternative sources of electricity. Thus, the rational use of photonics, optics and materials science in the form of improved solar panels can also be used to create the first human settlements on the Moon and Mars.