What is the future of Solar Power?

What is the future of Solar Power?

If you’ve discovered our Solar PV Hub, then you know all about the ins and outs of solar power. In this blog we want to explore the future of solar power and take a look at some of the latest innovations in solar technology.

Self-cleaning solar panels

Reported in November 2017, Opus Materials Technologies has secured a research grant to test the industrial roll out of self-cleaning solar panels. The company have developed a self-clean coating using nanotechnology, specifically designed to optimise energy production of solar photovoltaic panels. Opus will be monitoring the impact of weather on the performance of this new technology. The company will be working alongside Above Surveying, TWI, Loughborough University and Cornelius Specialties.

Solar Hydropanels

An Arizona based company, Zero Mass Water, have developed a solar hydropanel which uses the sun’s rays to pull water from the air. Each panel could produce 10 litres of water per day. Each array is made up of a standard solar panel flanked by two hydropanels, the hydropanels are capable of generating heat and harvesting moisture from the air. Together with a solar driven fan they are able to condense water into an onboard 30-litre reservoir. The water can then be siphoned directly to a drinking tap. Obviously the amount of humidity in the air will directly affect the payout.

Solar Roof Tiles

If we’ve learned anything from the evolution of the mobile phone, technology doesn’t stay chunky for long! Will solar roof tiles one day become the iPhone of the solar market? Who knows, but solar tiles are ideal for integrating with the architecture of a building, rather than standing out like a sore thumb. Designed to look like conventional roof tiles, you can get solar tiles in a variety of different finishes all whilst producing electricity! Tesla, for example, have developed a solar tile that is really made of glass.

Solar Roadways

You may remember that ‘Solar Freakin’ Roadways’ video of 2014 internet fame, well the company have actually been developing, installing and trailing their Solar Roadways (SR). The company aims to generate clean, renewable energy on any surface that can be walked or driven on. The SR project aims to take advantage of the solar energy which hits road surfaces throughout the US and modernise its highway system. As well as harvesting solar power SRs promise to conceal powerlines, minimising power failures and potential dangers as well as utilising LED technology to create and easily change road markings amongst other things.

Solar Windows

Seeker.com reports that SolarWindow Technologies, based in Maryland, have developed a liquid organic photovoltaic solar array which can be applied to transparent surfaces. The aim is to install solar PV glass to large commercial buildings and skyscrapers to create arrays that could out-perform a traditional array by 50%. UK based company, Polysolar also boasts that they have developed the only truly transparent solar glass using thin-film PV technology.

Nanowire Solar Cells

Nanowire-based solar panel have been knocking about since at least 2010 but we may see a growth in the installation of these panels in the coming years. The nanowires increase the absorption surface area of the panel using vertical, conical, “hairy” wires. That naturally increases the panel’s performance.

To learn more about Solar PV check out our Solar PV Hub.

Do you think any of these innovations will catch on? What will Solar PV look like in 2027? Let us know on LinkedIn

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