Solar energy has come incredibly far in a short amount of time. Today, we’re seeing advancements in solar technology being made at a quicker rate than ever before. Gone are the days of low efficiency and bulky panels.
In fact, solar technology has become so efficient that there is now flexible, solar cell embedded fabric on the market!
In this post, we’ll talk about that and more.
1. Floatovoltaics (floating solar farms)
The idea of a floating solar farm might seem like something out of a science fiction movie, but it is now a part of reality. When you think about it, it makes perfect sense. The Earth’s surface is made up of 71% water!
Even by utilizing just a fraction of that surface space for solar energy production, significant strides can be made in terms of the amount of energy that we’re able to produce.
As it stands right now, solar panels are responsible for producing about 1% of the energy used in the United States. If we were to use floating PV systems on even just ¼ of the suitable water-covered areas, we could take that number up to 10%.
It’s clear to see how powerful floating PV technology could be for clean energy generation, especially if other countries throughout the world were to follow suit!
Floating solar farms also have the added advantage of allowing valuable real estate to be preserved. As our population here on Earth continues to grow, the once open spaces where land-based solar farms would typically go will eventually need to be used and developed for housing.
Water-based floating solar farms provide a solution to that.
2. Building Integrated Photovoltaics
Building integrated photovoltaics, or BIPV for short, allow people to build solar energy generation right into their homes, businesses, and office buildings.
This is accomplished through the use of PV materials instead of standard materials when creating the exterior of a building. Common places for the PV materials include the siding and the roof, but this differs based on environmental factors like sun exposure.
This technology is unique from traditional mounted solar panels. It generates clean energy and also simultaneously works as a building material. There are even thin, semi-transparent PV materials that have been developed, which can be used to create energy-generating skylights inside of homes.
In this regard, those who are constructing a new home or building can kill two birds with one stone.
In addition to being super convenient, this technology allows for a sleeker design and gives more flexibility when working to design a solar energy system. Moving forward, it could work to remedy some of the design issues that can arise when retrofitting homes with traditional mounted solar panel arrays.
3. Solar Cell Fabric
Would you sport a jacket made out of solar cell fabric that could be used to charge your devices on the go? What about hanging curtains that could store energy from the sunlight entering through the window?
Those are just a couple of the many ways that solar cell embedded fabrics could end up being used. The potential applications are vast, and it is truly something to be excited about.
Scientists and solar energy professionals have steadily been working for the past decade to improve the efficiency of solar cell fabrics. Unlike traditional PV materials, those used in these fabrics are flexible and can bend without being damaged.
As of now, these materials are still not as efficient as traditional panels, but as advancements in this arena of solar technology continue, we’ll be seeing some truly amazing products hit the market.
If all of this talk about the exciting future of solar energy has you wanting to get started, we’re here to help!
At Lumina, we’re truly dedicated to solar energy and only work with the highest quality products on the market. We offer solar solutions that you can trust.