Stanford University engineers have developed solar panels that can continue to generate electricity even at night.
Standard solar panels can only provide electricity during the day, but this new technology is able to function as a “continuous renewable energy source day and night”.
A study highlighting this success was published in the journal Applied Physics Letters.
Generate solar energy at night
How could solar power be harnessed at night, you ask? To this end, the engineers built a device with a thermoelectric generator. This device is able to draw electricity from the tiny temperature difference between the solar cell and the ambient air.
According to the study authors, this approach could effectively provide “nighttime backup lighting and power in off-grid and mini-grid applications, where [solar] cellular installations are growing in popularity.”
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2021 has been a good year for renewables. In fact, wind and solar power beat coal in 2021 to generate 38% of all energy on Earth. For 50 countries, 10% of electricity comes from solar and wind power, a think tank reported last month.
With solar panels capable of generating electricity at night, scientists hope that connectivity can be extended to areas where mini-grid applications are viable. These include towns and hamlets where populations are too small to justify extending a network.
Read also : India added record solar power capacity of 10 gigawatts in 2021
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April 7, 2022. Solar panels capable of generating electricity at night have been developed at Stanford. NPR.