Green, environmentally friendly technology is all the rage as global warming concerns heighten and people begin taking responsibility for the health of our home planet.
One of the most popular topics in the sector today is alternative energy; the possibilities, potentials, hardships and numerous advantages. Some progress has even been made, with experts exploring the options of wind power, water power, and of course, solar energy. One of the popular approaches to harnessing the sun’s energy is through the use of solar panels.
In an article discussing new science discoveries, WebEcoist.com presents the two main downsides of solar panels, as well as some new, innovative solutions:
- Solar panels are typically inflexible and brittle, limiting the versatility of their application. But what if you could just spray solar cells onto any surface and collect energy from the sun? The technology is currently being produced at the University of Texas, where researchers are using nanoparticle “inks” full of tiny photovoltaics made from copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS). These particles are 10,000 times thinner than a strand of human hair. Currently, the photovoltaic ink only converts 1% of the sunlight that reaches it into electricity, but the researchers expect to increase the production and have the technology on the market within three to five years.
- For homeowners that can afford them, the biggest reason not to install rooftop solar panels is often aesthetics: they’re just plain ugly. But, unobtrusive solar panels that blend in nearly effortlessly with the architecture of a home are now within reach. Dow Solar recently announced a new generation of building-integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) roof shingles, and SRS Energy has created powerful solar panels that look just like standard clay roof tiles.