These days, people are embracing renewable energy sources and letting go of non-renewable resources. Solar power is the most popular sustainable source of energy. It is clean and plentiful, and it does not harm the environment. Solar power experts say that the energy provided by the sun in one hour is enough to cater for all of our energy requirements for an entire year. However, since time immemorial, the major dilemma has been how to harness solar power and use it without affecting the lives of users drastically. Solar panels have always been expensive and bulky, and this has been the major reason for their unpopularity with some people. Thankfully, the concept of harnessing solar power has a rediscovered identity. Scientists have created a low-cost technology that is more eco-friendly and allows people to easily maximize solar energy. The new technology is sprayable solar power. Spray-on solar energy is made using Perovskite or colloidal quantum dots (CQD) which can be easily produced and save more energy when they are sprayed.
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Sprayable Solar Power Vs. Conventional Solar Power
Solar panels are made from silicon, which is hard to produce. It takes a lot of energy to make silicon, as silica rock has to be heated to approximately 3,000 degrees. Interestingly, when solar cells are manufactured, coal or another fossil fuel has to be used. This is ironic, since the primary intention of solar power is to decrease fossil fuel consumption. Perovskite, on the other hand, is produced using little energy, and when it is sprayed, it saves much more energy.
Colloidal quantum dots are absorbing photovoltaic materials that make up quantum dot solar cells and replace materials such as copper, indium, gallium, selenide, and silicon. They are merged with a conducting polymer to create a plastic. They have the ability to take in a bigger range of the solar spectrum and can be sprayed on flexible surfaces. Spray-on solar panels made with colloidal quantum dots are stronger, lighter, and less costly than conventional solar panels. In addition, they can collect visible light as well as infrared waves. Colloidal quantum dots can be utilized in multi-junction solar cells (where both small and large dots sit beside each other, increasing the energy-harvesting potential of the cells).
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While spray-on solar energy doesn’t last as long as traditional solar cells, it doesn’t take long to install. The technology is still being perfected and may be first used on different products where conventional solar panels wouldn’t function as well. In the beginning, it might be used on products which do not require long-term solar power stability and indoor applications that do not consume a lot of energy. After its effectiveness is proven, it will be used on building facades and roofs. It could one day coat outdoor furniture and even bicycles.
Spray-On Solar Power Can Be Applied on Solar Panels
While traditional solar panels are known for their energy-saving capacity, they have a complex manufacturing process and a high price tag. Scientists are working hard to create spray-on solar energy that can be applied on solar panels as they pass through a conveyor belt during production. They will be sprayed with a hydrogen film and an anti-reflective film.
Scientists are still researching ways to increase the efficiency of solar panels. They are studying how the surfaces of solar panels affect their ability to trap energy. At the moment, the effectiveness of solar panels in the market is about 15%. While they are more efficient than the first solar panels which were manufactured in the 1950s—which converted approximately 4% solar power into usable energy—they have a long way to go. Scientists say they are working on increasing the current rate by five times.
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Solar Power will be More Affordable for All
When solar panels first came into the market, only the affluent could afford them, as they were very expensive. Both spray-on technologies are cheap and will help make solar energy affordable. People who weren’t able to afford solar panels in the past will be able to power their homes with solar energy. Low-cost solar power will play an important role in the developing world, as it will make sure that population and economic growth take place in a sustainable way. This inexpensive, eco-friendly energy will be welcomed by consumers and used for different purposes.
Imagine powering your car with solar energy by simply painting it, or spraying solar power on your curtains to make the most of a sunny day. Sprayable solar power is no longer a dream—it will soon become a reality.
What creative ways do you think solar power could be used in your home?