Anti-Solar Panels Could Generate Power at Night

Anti-Solar Panels Could Generate Power at Night

With the increase in the commercialization around the globe, the use of natural resources has increased as well. In the last 100 years of mass marketing and commercialization, Earth is now getting short on fossil fuels resources. Additionally, their extensive usage has been harmful for the environment and the climate globally. These underlying problems have forced researchers around the globe to develop as many solutions for energy production as possible without the usage of natural resources or harming the environment. Solar panels, wind energy, biomass energy, and hydro energy are a few of the available renewable energy resources. EBR Energy is one of the top solar companies in Pakistan that is contributing in making Pakistan clean and green by using renewable solar energy.

A solar system installed by EBR Energy for your home, office, or school consists of solar panels, also known as photovoltaic solar cells that are usually manufactured from silicon. These cells absorb energy from the sun and convert it into Direct Current (DC) output. This current can then be used by appliances via charge controllers that work on DC power. Otherwise, an inverter is connected to convert DC to Alternating Current (AC). This AC output then flows through electric wiring systems, providing energy to all of the connected appliances.

Isn’t it amazing that energy is being showered down on Earth in limitless quantities?

Unfortunately, there is a downside to solar panel systems as well. They cannot produce energy at night. They can only use the excess energy produced and stored during the day time. Hence, researchers are looking into a solution that can produce maximum energy around the clock with optimal efficiency. Researchers from the University of California, Davis propose that we can produce electric power at night as well by using “anti-solar panels.”

As the name suggests, these panels do not use the same technology as solar panels. The anti-solar panels use cells using thermoradiation that emanate infra-red radiation from the surface of the Earth into the space and produce electron-hole pairs. This process generates voltage that is fit for electric consumption.

According to the new study, these specially designed photovoltaic cells can generate a quarter of the energy they produce during the day at night as well under optimum conditions. To accomplish this goal, we would need to integrate thermoradiative cells in regular solar panels so that energy can be produced through a phenomenon called ‘Radiative Cooling’. Radiative cooling is a process in which infrared radiation or heat leaves the cell body and produces a small amount of energy in the process. 

As of now, thermoradiative cells are being tested in fields where they are being used to convert waste energy that is produced during manufacturing. In the case of a night-time solar panel, pointing these cells at the cold night sky is a way of channeling this process.

Image Source: Extreme tech

“We were thinking, what if we took one of these devices and put it in a warm area and pointed it at the sky,” says Electrical & Computer Engineer Jeremy Munday from the University of California, Davis.

Their next step is to find out what combinations of materials and electronics might produce an effective and efficient panel that can use the night sky and space as a heat sink to produce voltage while producing electric energy during the day like a regular solar cell.

Talking about the new type of solar cells, Engineer Munday says, “A regular solar cell generates power by absorbing sunlight, which causes a voltage to appear across the device and for current to flow.” He continues on to explain, “In these new devices, light is instead emitted and the current and voltage go in the opposite direction, but you still generate power.”

According to the electrical engineer, “You have to use different materials, but the physics is the same.”

There is a long way for this technology to go yet and reach the point where it can be used practically, but at present, Munday and his team only have prototypes in development that can possibly be a relatively inexpensive way to keep solar cells operating 24 hours a day rather than using batteries.

While the combination of solar panels and anti-solar panels is under the process of revolutionizing the world’s solar industry, EBR Energy continues to brighten your homes, and commercial and industrial buildings with its prompt and costumed services. With EBR Energy, you can take all the right steps to convert your building into a powerhouse!

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