5 Revolutionary Solar-powered technologies

 

We are not far away from living a sci-fi life reality where self-driving electric cars and smart devices charged from solar-powered clothes become the norm. 

 

Solar panels have been around for a long time(more than 100 years)! However, they remained on the sidelines for all these years because the technology was not advanced back then and people were not aware of carbon emissions and climate change.

 

Over the last 2 decades, technology has sparked new innovations in the renewable energy sector. People are becoming mindful of the carbon footprint they’re leaving behind, and the cost of premium solar panels is decreasing exponentially. As a result, more and more people are investing in renewable energy technologies.

 

Here are some solar technologies that are either in the market or in the pipeline. 

 

Floating Solar Farms

As the name suggests, solar panels can now be used over water reservoirs, lakes, or open seas. Floating photovoltaic panels or “floatovoltaics” use silicon solar panels which can be installed over any type of water surface and generate energy on a mass level. Although these farms are not ideal for residential solar panel projects because not everyone owns a lake or dam. However, these can help governments and local councils in contributing a good amount of renewable energy to the national grid, while saving a lot of precious real estate space.

 

These floating farms also have fewer installation costs because they don't require treating soil, clearing land, or installing solar stands. The added benefit of having water underneath is the cooling effect and no shade. According to studies, the power production from floating solar farms is up to 10% greater because there is no shade to hinder the solar transmission and the water cools down the heat generation as well.

 

BIPV Solar technology

Building-integrated photovoltaics or BIPV can be integrated into the building itself in the form of curtain walls, roofs, facades, canopies, etc. BIPV will soon be a new norm because it has revolutionized the way we see building materials. Currently, solar panels are only mounted on rooftops with enough plain surface due to their structural limitations. In the future, people will no longer have to bear with the ugly looking and space-consuming solar panels on roofs, destroying all the beautiful artwork and the money spent on it.

 

When installed prior to home or office construction, building-integrated photovoltaics will save money that would be otherwise spent on buying fancy windows, roof panels, or skirts. As BIPV will be fully integrated into the building, it will be able to cover all sunlit areas and will generate more energy in the same amount of space.

 

We know that only adding aesthetic sense in solar panels alone will not attract solar buyers. To sum that up, BIPV offers Increased energy efficiency, powerful thermal and sound insulation, Decreased O&M costs, and zero carbon footprint.

 

Solar Skins

To overcome the same gloomy look of solar panels, Solar skins were developed. In layman’s language, these solar skins are like ad wraps on busses. These are thin skin material that maintains the solar panel efficiency while giving it a trendy look. Now aesthetically conscious people don’t have to worry while getting solar panels installed. It’s also great for people looking to advertise their business as well.

 

Solar Fabrics

When researchers discovered that we have solar radiation everywhere around us, they thought about harnessing that energy anywhere possible. Why keep solar energy production limited only for large scale and on fixed locations? Researchers are considering the possibilities of going micro or nano with solar panels and creating solar filaments that would be embedded in the fabrics we wear. It will have a plethora of uses, like charging smart devices while on the go, keeping people warm in winters, solar fabric tents for soldiers or other fieldwork people, and solar curtains that capture and hide sunlight.



Solar noise barriers

In the United States, highway traffic noise has remained a constant issue for all nearby areas. To overcome this huge traffic noise pollution, 48 states have built 3000 miles of traffic noise barriers. Traditional noise barriers had a single purpose: to be cost-effective while reducing traffic noise. However, The US Department of Energy has now realized the untapped potential of solar energy production through these noise barriers and they estimated a whopping 400 gigawatt-hours (GWh) of active solar energy production. In other words, if most of the noise barriers are converted into solar noise barriers, it will produce energy for more than 37000 homes annually. 

 

Keywords targeted: Premium solar panel, Residential solar panel, Active solar energy