February 25, 2021

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Future of Solar Panels

3 min read
As the climate is changing and need for alternative energy sources is increasing to get rid of fossil fuels, solar energy seems best alternative option. Such solar panels are under development which will make energy in night also.

The non-renewable energy sources are limited and there is no doubt in that these sources will end. The need of hour is to look for best affordable energy sources. The world knows about the upcoming energy crisis which the world will face. That’s why rapid advancements are made in renewable energy. Out of all renewable energy sources the best one is solar energy. There is no doubt in the solar energy is one of the best possible replacement for fossil fuels. A recent study reveled that 4 percent of the world’s deserts on planet earth with solar panels can meet the entire world’s electricity demands.

How Solar panels work?

Solar power is generated by harnessing the heat and light of the sun through solar panels which are made of photovoltaic cells. The solar panels are designed in such way that they absorb the heat and light of the sun and convert it into electricity. After that electricity is stored in batteries or distributed.

The photovoltaic cells or solar cells are made from semiconductors such as, silicon. When sun light reaches a solar cell, the electrons in them are released. While electrons are released in solar cell, then they move to seek for positive connection is on the other side of solar panel, which is positively charged using some element like boron. In this way the electric current is made when electrons starts moving to other side of the solar panel. The current when comes in contact with electrical contacts on the solar cell it turned into voltage. This direct current is transferred to battery or to inverter for distribution.

It is always best to place solar panels in such way that it always face the sun, usually the direction is placing solar panels facing south. The maximum out of a solar panel is dependent on direct sunlight.

As it’s clear that solar panel’s working is dependent on sunlight, so what about night? Did solar panels work in night or in cloudy conditions?

Do Solar Panels Work at Night?

It’s obvious that electricity is required day and night. But solar panels can provide electricity in day when sun is out. In winters or in overcast situations solar panels efficiency decreases, to solve that problem a grid connected PV system is provided or a battery backup to ensure that no energy is lost in times of power outage.

In above mentioned options, the electricity is made by solar panels is directed to inverter which converts direct current into alternate current. The alternate current is passed to breaker panel. From breaker panel the required electricity is sent to your home appliances and the rest of it is sent to utility grid. The utility grid plays the role of a power bank. It’s the utility grid which will provide then power to your house at night. The bi-directional meter keeps the record that how much electricity is sent to grid and how is used from grid. The electricity sent to grid is your credit which deducted from your electric bill.

Other option is battery backup, the electricity made by solar panels is stored in batteries which is used is used then night or in cloudy conditions.

In simple words the answer that do solar panels work at night is no they don’t!

Solar Panels with Nanoantennas

The efficiency of conventional solar panels is only 40% which means they only harness 40 % total solar energy which reaches to solar panels. The researchers are working to increase this percentage rate of outcome up to 80%. They are working on a variant of a solar panel which can work after sunset. It will boast the efficiency of solar panels up to 80%. This new technology will use nanoantennas to harness solar energy. The nanoantennas are the square spirals of conduction metal embedded into a sheet of plastic which can be easily folded.

Infrared energy is absorbed by earth which is released after sunset. These nanoantennas solar panels will absorb the infrared energy released by the earth at night and will use sunlight in day to produce energy. These nanoantennas are very small measuring 1/25 of human hair but in efficiency they are way ahead of conventional solar panels. Unlike conventional solar panels these nanoantennas solar panels will produce energy during night too!

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