Solar cell has changed the way many people bring energy into their homes and rain is normally a solar energy cell’s worst nightmare. But now a group of scientists developed a new solar cell prototype that will generate power from raindrops.
Solar Cell Generates Power from Raindrops
Scientists from the Ocean University of China (Qingdao) and Yunnan Normal University (Kunming, China) have created an all-weather solar cell that works both in the sun and in the rain.
The technology takes advantage of graphene they use to coat their solar cells during testing. Graphene is known for its conductivity, among many other benefits. All it takes is a mere one-atom thick graphene layer for an excessive amount of electrons to move as they wish across the surface. Water actually sticks to the graphene, creating a sort of natural capacitor — the sharp difference in energy between the graphene’s electrons and the water’s ions produces electricity.
Like most solar panels, the new solar cell can generate energy from sunlight on sunny days using existing technology. When the clouds roll in and raindrops start to fall, the solar cell then can switch to its graphene-based energy collection system.
Researchers hope to move their research beyond a proof of concept stage and begin to develop the technology into a viable method for generating electricity. These all-weather cells would provide a boost to solar cell technology which currently only works when there is ample sunlight. In climates or seasons that are dominated by clouds and rain, an all-weather solar panel could provide a clean form of energy that is not possible with existing technology.