Here is the first solar panel that can generate electricity at night

Researchers have succeeded in adapting solar panels to generate electricity at night. Although production is lower, it would allow isolated locations to run low-power equipment without relying on batteries.

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In 2014, the share of solar photovoltaics in the French electricity mix did not exceed 1.3% (France Territoire Solaire figure). So how could solar energy become our main energy source? Marion Perrin, doctor of electrochemistry, shares her point of view on the matter.

Solar panels are one of the main sources ofrenewable energy† Their biggest mistake is that they don’t produce power at night. Usually this production is mixed with other sources that compensate for this weakness, but this is not always possible for installations that are not connected to the electrical network† Remote locations would then have to rely on daytime charged batteries, which are expensive and duration limited life.

Stanford University researchers wanted to solve this problem by creating solar panels that produce electricity at night. In an article published in the magazine Applied Physics Lettersthey describe their prototype consisting of a solar panel default to which they added one thermoelectric generator

Night production for isolated locations

For a night without cloudsthe solar panel evacuate her heat directly to space, a phenomenon that makes it slightly colder than thesky surroundings. the generator thermoelectric uses this temperature difference to produce power. This technique generates only 50 milliwatts of power per square meter, an amount that may seem ridiculous. However, a classic installation on a 20 m² house would already watt the night.

The researchers think they can double the yield with a few adjustments and estimate that the maximum theoretical yield can be as much as one or two watts per square meter. Thanks to their invention, isolated installations could do without batteries and produce enough energy to charge a smartphone or provide a power supply LED-lighting low consumption.

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