That solar panels could generate electricity at night is nonsense, you might say. But not quite. Australian scientists have discovered that such a thing is technically possible. How could solar panels that produce electricity at night work? Could we be in for another photovoltaic revolution?
Electricity even at night
Solar panels have recently become a really popular way of generating clean electricity. However, they have their contradictions. They work best in direct sunlight, so cloudy days don’t suit them at all. At night, they don’t produce at all. But that could soon change.
A group of Australian scientists, including researchers from the University of New South Wales in Sydney and the Australian Research Council, have made a breakthrough that could lead to the production of special solar panels capable of generating electricity at night.
What did the scientists come up with?
Researchers have successfully tested a device called a thermo-radiation diode. Such a device converts infrared heat into electricity. According to the researchers, the thermo-radiation diode is similar to technology used in, for example, night vision goggles.
For now, however, the amount of energy produced in the tests is incredibly small compared to the power output of standard solar panels, about 0.001%. However, it does show promise for the development of solar panels that could produce power at night. The team is now looking to continue their research and find a sponsor through an industry partnership.