Whilst increased PV production around the world has led to solar power in homes becoming ever more common, innovations are continuing in other areas of the solar industry. Scientists and developers are continually exploring ways in which energy from the sun can be used to power everything from mobile phones to complex transportation systems. It’s certainly an exciting time for solar technology.
1. Brightening Lives
In developing countries, there are millions of people living without any access to electricity. To see by night, these people use kerosene lamps, which not only add over 200 million tons of harmful emissions to the atmosphere every year but are also highly flammable and give off harmful fumes. By gaining access to solar charged lights and appliances, those in developing countries could expand their working hours and it offers huge potential for children wishing to study after dark.
2. The power of solar
Charging mobile devices is something that most of us do everyday. When you consider that the number of smartphones in use around the world is now close to 1 billion, it’s not suprising that the charging of these devices is contributing a huge amount to CO2 emissions. Many companies are currently working on innovations that would allow mobile gadgets such as Kindles, smartphones and music systems to run off solar energy.
In addition, using clean energy (such as solar power) for transport could also dramatically cut down on harmful CO2 emissions. In recent years, more electric cars have been seen on the roads and scientists and engineers are working on reproducing this success with trains and even aeroplanes.
3. Capturing Infrared
Although photovoltaic cells have come a huge way in harnessing some of the energy from sunlight, it’s worth bearing in mind that only 60% of this type of light is actually visible. Forms of light such as infrared and ultraviolet are therefore often not converted and their potential energy is simply lost.
Researchers and scientists are working on carbon based solar panels that would be able to capture the infrared light. The benefit with this is that the cells needed to capture the infrared light could be placed on top of the silicon based cells which capture the visible sunlight meaning that it would be fairly easy to implement. Although this is still in the very early stages of development it could be a huge turning point in solar energy with far reaching implications.