If you’re up to speed with the residential solar industry, you’ll know that solar panels can only generate heat when the sun is shining. Solar panels are obviously still a great investment, powering your home during daylight hours for no cost at all. However, wouldn’t it be great if they could work at night too?
Engineers at Stanford University in the US have wondered the same thing, and they’re even doing something about it.
Solar panels working at night?
You’re probably wondering how solar panels could possibly work at night when there is no sunlight. Well, engineer and PhD student Sid Assaworrarit has been working on technology that could make this a reality. Without going too deep into the science behind it, Assoworrarit has been using a device called a thermoelectric generator. Solar panels actually emit infrared radiation even when there’s no light, and in very simple terms, Assaworrarit’s device uses the heat that flows between warm air and the solar panel to generate energy.
While current tests only generate around 50 milliwatts of energy per square metre of solar panel, Assaworrarit is confident that with some tweaking, this could increase to 1 or 2 watts per square metre. It’s not as much as the 150 watts per square metre that panels can generate from daytime sunlight, but it’s certainly a step in the right direction.
Current solar solutions for evening use
Unfortunately, until research like Assaworrarit’s is refined and improved to a commercial level, we’ll have to make do with our regular solar panels that only work during the day. It could be many years before technology evolves to the point that solar panels can generate enough power to keep our homes running through the night. Luckily, there are alternatives.
Firstly, you can stick with your normal on-grid solar installation. This allows you to power your home with free solar energy during the day and tap into the national grid for your nightly energy needs. Secondly, you can consider solar battery solutions. With a solar battery, excess energy generated during the day is stored for evening use. This makes you almost completely self-sufficient, as long as your panels generate enough power.
Contact Halcol Energy for more information
If you’d like to make the switch to solar, we can’t promise you solar panels that work at night, but we can definitely help you slash your energy bills with on-grid or off-grid solar solutions. Our solar packages are designed to suit all budgets, and with some great government subsidies such as the Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme, there’s never been a better time to make the change. Contact Halcol Energy today, and our team will be happy to assist.