By now you have probably heard about the recent discovery that your house could be a solar power plant, thanks to the magic of a solar panel.
A number of solar panels have been installed in the UK, Australia, India and Japan.
Now a team from the University of Southampton have found that the panels actually do produce energy, in the form of light.
According to a press release, this new work provides evidence that the sun is indeed active, and not just a mere photovoltaic energy source.
It’s also the first time that such a photovolcanic system has been observed to generate power in the absence of external input.
The team, led by Prof. Ian Clark from the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, used the light produced by solar panels to generate electrical signals that were transmitted to a sensor.
They were able to convert the signals into electrical signals which could then be measured.
According the press release: “The solar panels produce light and generate a signal in the range of 3 to 10 milliwatts (a photon is a thousandth of a meter) per pixel, and are a significant contributor to the electrical signals in a solar system.
In addition, these signals can be directly converted into electrical voltages and stored in the photovols, and thus to other electrical signals”.
What’s more, the team have also found that a photoluminescent panel can also generate electricity at a lower level of voltage than the typical solar panel, because of the different properties of the material.
“It’s clear that this is a different form of energy storage.
The properties of these materials are different, and the photoluminosensor is capable of capturing these signals,” Prof. Clark told the press.
The researchers also say that the solar panels are “unusual” in terms of their behaviour and the number of panels that can be built to achieve the required size.
It will be interesting to see if the new study will be applied to other parts of the solar industry.
“Our work highlights the need to develop more photovolar panels in future,” said Dr. Alex O’Connor from the Solar Energy Technology Institute.
The research has been published in Nature Communications.
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