Latest Developments in Solar Power Application
2017 saw a sudden rise in innovations in the field of solar technology. Solar power was already on the rise in most countries like China, US and India since 2015. There were a number of developments made in 2017. We have seen new technologies in solar efficiencies, energy storage, wearable solar devices and solar design. The two primary modes of solar power generation are using PV panels and concentrated solar power or CSP. CSP uses mirrors and lens to focus sunlight and heat on a medium. The medium is converted to steam and is used to run turbines. Photovoltaic panels utilize semiconductor layers that use the energy in photons to generate power. Most of the recent progress in solar power has been made in these two sectors. Read on to know more about the latest technological developments in the field of solar power.
- Invention of thin solar cells- Reported in the Organic Electronics Journal 2016, researchers have recently developed a flexible solar cell that is just 1.3 microns thick. It is light enough to float on a soap bubble. However, its solar power generation efficiencies are comparable to the silicon-based cells.
- Solar skins to hit the market- Sistine Solar, a solar technology firm based in Boston has designed an ultra-thin solar skin that can offer a wide range of aesthetic choices, mounting options and customizable features. Traditional solar panels can have an unsightly appearance, this firm proposes to fix just that. The MIT-based start-up has created the solar skin to fit over normal rooftops without altering its appearance. Branded as a luxury product, the solar skin is set to hit the markets in 2018.
- Development of solar textiles- Wearable and portable solar devices have been around for long. We are familiar with solar-powered watches and pocket calculators. In 2017 we saw the rise of solar textiles in which tiny solar cells have been stitched into the fabric of the clothing. This makes it possible to incorporate solar power in domestic locations in the form of curtains and drapes, car interiors and retail facilities.
- Solar illuminated roads- The Route 66 in the US saw an exciting new solar project. GThe entire road was powered by solar power generation. The location was chosen as a testing ground for solar-powered public utilities. All the lightings along the route are now powered by solar panels.
- Evolution of solar trackers- Development of solar trackers has allowed users to maximize their sun exposure. Such panel tracking devices shift the PV panels or focusing in mirrors according to the movements of the sun throughout the day. They align the panels in the best possible location according to the position of the sun.
- Solar Batteries- There is a rise in demand for off-grid energy solutions in the US market. Even though solar batteries are currently expensive, their storage efficiencies have seen a rise over the years. Developments in solar battery are a necessity since the sunlight exposure is limited by time of day and weather.