Ever wondered how solar panels work in areas of the world that lack sunshine? It sounds like an impossible feat. Despite the challenges, innovators have developed a panel that will continue to work through even the dreariest day in countries such as the UK.
Thanks to its abundantly dark, wet weather, the UK has been trailing behind the rest of the world when it comes to solar paneling. In the past, sunshine failed to fall on the panels long enough for them to charge batteries and store them for enough energy when the sun goes down. Researchers from Ocean University in China have found the solution to this problem by developing a solar panel that can last through even the most miserable UK day.
How does it work? The majority of the energy still comes from sunlight. The new addition is a graphene layer that allows rainwater to also generate some energy. When rain falls on this new layer, the graphene becomes a tank of electrons that attract positively charged ions to it. Although the rainwater itself does not play a huge role in this interaction, the salt in the rainwater does. The ions bind to the graphene and water sticks to it and forms a layer. Essentially, when wet weather comes, the graphene and water work together to generate electricity long enough until the sun comes back out.
Although this technology is in its beginning stages, it has a promising future. With the innovative invention of solar and water technology such as this one, the world is well on its way to creating a more sustainable future one panel at a time.