Recently, Germany produced 50% of its electricity needs from solar, China has massively increased its solar capacity and the world’s largest solar farm opened near Los Angles. Solar’s growth is even outpacing that of wind.
The sun-powered energy source is definitely here to stay. Now, the challenge will be making solar an everyday power source for individuals in order for them to create off-grid power for their homes.
In California a new bill is set to allow home owners a cheaper way of installing panels on their homes.
The bill may streamline the process of installing the panels, reduce the bureaucracy and save up to $1,000 per home. The move may prove a significant incentive for home owners to install more panels around their homes.
Beyond panels that can be attached to the outside of buildings there are a huge range of technologies which are being developed that could help to revolutionise the home solar market.
We’ve rounded up some of the most promising solar developments from recent months. Many of them are still in development and need to increase their conversion efficiency but they give an indication of how solar our homes have the potential to be.
Organic solar modules, rather than silicone cells, may lead to the creation of rollable solar panels.
Panels that are created in rolls of thin glass would lead to the ability to put solar on surfaces that may only receive the sun at certain times of the year.
The researchers at Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP said their early testing is showing promising signs.
Image courtesy of Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP
The idea of a solar car has been around for a long time but earlier this year Ford revealed plans for a prototype solar-powered hybrid car.
It has a solar panel system on the roof which, when the car is fully powered, could power it for up to 21 miles on just the electricity.
The company said that a day of sunlight could produce the same performance as is given by their hybrid cars.
Image courtesy of Ford
As one of the most successful crowd funding campaigns of all time, Solar Roadways has the public backing to be implemented as driveways leading up to our garages.
The technology, which can withhold large weights, could be used on patios, around pools and walkways at our houses.
The company is currently hiring more staff and refining its manufacturing processes as it hopes to expand further.
Even the windows of our future homes could be capturing energy from the sun thanks to a breakthrough in a technology that allows us to create solar technology that is transparent.
The organic molecules from researchers at Michigan State University would capture infrared rays before channelling them to the edge of the material.
When the rays reach the edge of the material, which could be attached to glass, they are converted to electricity by thin solar cells.
Image courtesy of Michigan State University
Spray on solar
Researchers from the University of Sheffield have recently developed spray-on solar cells that could be used on new purchases for our homes.
New products could be covered with the solar technology to help them be more energy-efficient.
Those behind the work said they believe the technology is going to have an important role to play in the future of solar power generation.
Image courtesy of the University of Sheffield.