menu

These Solar Panels Are At Peak Efficiency When Not In The Sun

These Solar Panels Are At Peak Efficiency When Not In The Sun
Innovation

Overcast weather is no match for these 3D-printed photovoltaic cells.

Ross Brooks
  • 19 march 2014

Even though conventional solar panels can still function well in overcast weather, British scientists at the National Physical Laboratory have created a new type of solar cell that thrives in overcast environments. What’s more impressive however, is that they are made from small organic molecules that can easily be dissolved into a solution and 3D printed into any shape, size, or color desired.

In direct sunlight, the solar panels achieve 10% efficiency, but that jumps to 13% hen conditions are more cloudy. Dr Fernando Castro, principal research scientist at the National Physical Laboratory in Teddington, explains:

Organic photovoltaics work much better in low and diffused light conditions. Even if it’s cloudy they still work. It’s not that they are going to produce more power but they are more efficient at generating power from the light that is available. So they would work better than normal soar cells do in cloud.

The team still has their work cut out for them, especially as the most efficient solar cells can harvest more than 40% of the energy from sunlight. Granted, these are rarely used in residential projects due to their prohibitive cost, but it gives you an idea of how 13% looks in the grand scheme of things.

organic-photovoltaic-overcast-solar-cells-npl.jpg

Organic photovoltaic, as this particular technology is known, is perhaps most useful in terms of flexibility. It could be embedded into various devices that are used in remote area but require their own dedicated power source. Clothing, and other items with irregular shapes would also be prime candidates.

National Physical Laboratory

Source: 3D Print
Images: BASF – The Chemical Company, Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Innovation
Trending

Brand Engagement At The Gates Of The World's Largest Open-Air Gallery

Culture
Asia Yesterday

Safe Drivers Rewarded In Japan With Free Coffee

Driving Barista is a new app that encourages Japanese motorists to put their phones down as they drive

Arts & Culture Yesterday

Michael Kors Has Designed Their Own Instant Camera

In a partnership with Fuji, the limited edition Instax Mini 70 comes in an exclusive metallic gold color

Trending

Get PSFK's Related Report: Future of Automotive

See All
Health Yesterday

Manage Your Emotional Health Through Your Phone

Pharmaceutical company Pfizer has created a new iOS app meant to help patients track mental progress and set goals

Food Yesterday

Delete Food Pics Off Of Instagram To Feed The Hungry

Land O'Lakes and Feeding America are donating meals for every picture of a meal taken off of the social platform

Related Expert

Linda Boff

Open Innovator

Design & Architecture Yesterday

This Shape-Shifting Pod Could Be The Future Of The Cubicle

MIT and Google have designed a new form of work enclosure meant to offer privacy in open-office layouts

Advertising Yesterday

Billboard Spies On People As They Walk By

To promote the movie "Snowden," the advertisement broadcasts information on passersby without their knowledge

Fashion Yesterday

Anti-Pollution Scarf Helps Cyclists Ride Through Cities

An innovative system filters pollutants and its accompanying app monitors quality of the air

PSFK LABS REPORT

Future Of Automotive
Scenarios Driving The Digital Transformation Of An Industry
NEW

PSFK Op-Ed september 27, 2016

Modern Workplace Culture: No More Fat Cats Or Kissing Ass

Samar Birwadker, CEO & Co-Founder of Good & Co, on designing shared organizational values to optimize employee happiness and success

PSFK Labs Yesterday

New Mentorship Ecosystems Benefit All Levels Of An Organization

PSFK’s Future of Work report explores how technology is being leveraged to support cross-team communication

Automotive Yesterday

Volvo’s Self-Driving Trucks Will Soon Be Put To Work In An Underground Mine

The fully-automated vehicles are part of a development project to help improve safety for workers

Op-Ed Yesterday

Energy Expert: How American Consumers Are Taking Control Of Their Power Use

Jennifer Tuohy, green tech expert at The Home Depot, discusses green home technologies and developments for renewable technologies in US homes

Work Yesterday

Editorial Roundtable: How Will Companies Staff The Workplace Of The Future?

Managed By Q, Soma, Workbar, Primary, AltSchool and thinkPARALLAX examine the ways that a people-first workplace might disrupt the job hiring process

Arts & Culture Yesterday

Mischievous Drone Will Drop Paint-Filled Balloons On Targets Of Your Choosing

A German photography team developed the flying device to accurately deliver a payload wherever needed

PSFK LABS REPORT

Future Of Work
Cultivating The Next Generation Of Leaders
NEW

Fashion Yesterday

100 Backpacks Made For The World’s Top Influencers

Heineken and TUMI have collaborated on a unique custom NYC-inspired bag

Financial Services Yesterday

This Peer-To-Peer Insurance Company Is Powered By Bots

Lemonade is a new product designed to lighten the paperwork and provide instant, helpful service when needed

No search results found.