Innovations in solar energy applications
Is there a greater energy source we can think of than our own sun? It offers an abundant amount of energy, and it’s always available and easily accessible. The only question confronting us is how we can tap into its bountiful energy effectively. Fortunately great new innovations in solar applications are on the horizon.
Good thing, then, that scientists, engineers, and innovators all over the world continue to come up with ideas and products that can help us get the most out of the solar energy that is right there for us. Below are some of the latest and greatest technologies and innovations in solar energy from around the solar industry.
These are basically windows that can convert the sun’s rays into electricity. Just think about all the window glass surfaces in the US, or even in the whole world. Imagine if all that can be used to help provide power to a home. In the US, it is estimated that solar windows have the potential to supply around 40 percent of the country’s energy demands—thanks to there being up to 7 billion square meters of window surfaces in the country.
Of course, it’s not the same as having actual solar panels up on the roof receiving solar power because of the materials and construction, but they can certainly offer a solid complementary power source.
Innovations in Solar paint
If glass surfaces hold great potential for solar applications, then all surfaces in general do as well. That’s where solar paint comes in. This paint is just like ordinary paint but contains billions of tiny light-sensitive materials that will allow the paint to capture energy from the sun’s rays and convert it into electrical power.
Solar paint still has a long way to go. Current applications are only 3 to 8% efficient. That’s not a high enough number to justify consumer spending, but with continued research and development, who knows how good this innovation could be a few years down the road?
Many countries are now in the process of testing out roads that are covered in solar panels, in order to see how viable this innovation is. Considering there are around 48,000 square miles of motorways in the US alone, there is great potential for these surfaces to backstop the already significant solar-panel installations.
Prospective applications would include rainwater filtration, snow melting, and roadside illumination. The power from the on-road panels could also eliminate the need for power cables located above ground.
Cars that are powered completely by solar power are still not thought of as commercially viable. Still, engineers have been hard at work for decades in order to keep improving existing solar car designs and technologies. Many of these zero-emission designs are visible annually at the World Solar Challenge.
Desalination involves removing mineral components from seawater, for example, in order to turn it into freshwater—that is, water that can be used by people in households and buildings. Desalination facilities use up a lot of energy to make this possible, and that means considerable expenses.
One way to shave off all these operating costs is through solar desalination processes. Electricity collected from photovoltaic panels powers a membrane process, which works by reverse osmosis, to produce freshwater. This method has been commercially available for a while, but recent advancements have allowed facilities using this method to be more efficient and thus more viable.
What these innovations in solar mean for us
The five innovations in solar outlined above are only some of the latest developments in the field of solar energy. More products and technologies running on solar energy are constantly arriving. We’re sure to see many more innovations arise in the near future.
If you are keen on tapping into solar for your home and saving on monthly utility bills, contact us at Renewable Energy Corporation. Let us show you the many amazing benefits that will be in store for you once you make the move