Scientists at Stanford University have developed a new coating for solar cells, which allow the cells to cool themselves, instead of using coolants or ventilation. This makes the solar cells even more energy efficient, because they won’t waste energy or water on cooling.
But the new coating’s advantages goes beyond energy efficiency - It will also prolong the life of your solar cells, and boost your overall power output. Overall, with the new coating, your solar cells will become more energy efficient, generate more power and last longer.
Solar cells can easily reach a temperature of 55 degrees celsius and higher, if they are exposed to full sun for a long period of time. Temperatures that high might lead to energy loss and shorten the lifespan of your solar panels, since the high heat will wear them out.
How Does the Coating Work?
The coating is basically a passive cooling technology, that keeps the solar cells relatively cool, even in sunny weather. By adding a thin layer of silica glass to the top of the solar cells, the cells will keep themselves cool by rejecting any unwanted thermal radiation from the sun.
The coating consists of tiny pyramids or cone-shaped structures on top of a thin layer of silica glass. The shapes in the glas redirects all of the extra heat away from the solar cells, so the panels does not overheat and break down because of too much sun.
According to Shanhui Fan, an electrical engineer professor at Stanford University, silica can be used to refract light of specific wavelengths, without degrading the performance of the solar panels. Instead the silica sends all of the unnecessary heat away in an effective manner.
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How Does Solar Cells Work?
Solar cells are also known as photovoltaic cells, and are used for generating electrical power directly from sunlight. Solar cells are electrically connected in a solar panel, and consist of semiconductors like silicon, which absorbs the light from the sun, and convert it into electricity.
Most solar cells absorb about 20 % of the energy from the sun, while the most efficient cells use up to 40 %. This is not much, when you consider that the sun hits the earth with approximately 1,000 watts of energy per square meter.
Scientists are working towards making solar cells more efficient and long lasting, for the good of the earth and all of mankind. The discovery of silica coating is a good and necessary step on the road towards solar cells, that absorb 100 % of the energy from the sun.
Read more: 7 Facts About Solar Energy