When people see solar energy they instantly think of solar panels on roofs or large areas, but now there are several new and interesting solar panel technologies being developed. Solar energy no longer requires large, wide areas or roofs of buildings, let alone looking ugly or boring.

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Now, here are some new, smart solar technologies that are changing the way we are using photovoltaic power plants.

1- Floating solar farms (‘floatovoltaics’)

As the years go by, silicon panels are getting better quality and cheaper. Experts in the field believe that if we place panels in rivers, coastal areas, lakes, etc., we can obtain greater efficiency and other advantages over traditional use. “Floatovoltaics” are solar energy systems created to float on rivers, coastal areas, lakes and all types of aquatic surfaces in general.

Floating solar farms can generate a lot of electricity without the need to use large areas of land or human buildings, which could prevent many of the fires and accidents that occur today. The installation costs of floating photovoltaic panels are lower than those of conventional photovoltaic panels. In addition, the energy production of floating solar panels is up to 10% higher because the water on which they are placed cools the panels, preventing short circuits due to heat and fires.

In addition to producing clean energy, floating solar farms greatly aid water management. They prevent water loss through evaporation by limiting the air passing through the aquatic zones and blocking sunlight from the water surface, which is a double-edged sword in itself and should be used in areas with little vegetation or a fairly deep bed so that it does not interfere with aquatic plants. In addition, the water underneath keeps the solar panels clean and minimizes energy wastage.

2- BIPV solar technology

Unlike traditional solar panels, BIPV is a much more attractive option that helps to avoid compromising the design of buildings and in fact can even improve the design and make the use of the panel more cost-effective.

BIPV solar panel systems save on construction materials and electricity costs to keep them in operation. By replacing standard materials with BIPV, you reduce the additional cost of installation.

BIPV technology, when used in building façades, provides the following benefits

  • Increased energy efficiency
  • High thermal and acoustic insulation
  • Clean and free energy production 
  • Reduced usage and maintenance costs
  • Zero carbon footprint

Photovoltaic glass installed as building materials acts as an energy-generating device, allowing natural light to enter the interior, just like conventional architectural glass.

3- Solar skins

Solar skins is a novel technology that allows the use of customised designs on solar panels. The solar skin technology is similar to the advertisements that appear on the windows of underground buses or on large building facades in tourist or heavily visited areas.

Sistine, the solar skin manufacturing company, is testing this technology in several laboratories in the US to increase its efficiency. The thin-film solar skins maintain high efficiency because of advances in selective light filtration. Sunlight entering the solar skins is filtered until it reaches the solar cells at the bottom of the plate.

Solar skin panels can also be beneficial for businesses or state offices as they can be modified to display company logos, commercial advertisements, news broadcasts and so on.

In addition, the solar panels use rail-less racking systems, are low, have a sleek and cool finish that hides the metal components, making the solar panels more attractive to the eye. If the aesthetics of the panels is what bothers you when thinking about using photovoltaic energy with this new technology you will have no problem to start using them and contribute to a cleaner planet.

4- Solar fabric

Scientists are in the process of developing some amazing solar fabrics, the idea is to include solar energy in every fibre of clothing. These solar fibres can be put into your T-shirts, winter coats or any other garment to keep you warmer in cold seasons and this technology can be used by climbers, pole researchers and journalists, charge your phone at any time and provide you with energy for other needs while you are on the move – imagine the possibilities you have.

There are several areas where scientists have attempted to combine solar fabric and solar panels, including:

  • Building facades that provide both shade and energy similar to Solar Skins.
  • Awnings that illuminate streetlights, 
  • Curtains that remove energy consumption from the grid

Clothes and fabrics made with solar panels can help you in many areas of daily life and it would also encourage young people to use solar energy in the future which would greatly benefit the use of renewable energies that are cleaner and healthier for our planet.

Solar cell manufacturing companies are also working specifically on the project with the vision of creating solar-powered robotic tents. The ever-decreasing cost of solar energy makes this technology accessible to almost anyone who wants to use it and care for our planet. It is now feasible to imagine a world where almost everything is powered by free energy. 

5- Photovoltaic solar noise barriers (PVNB)

Traffic noise has always been a concern for everyone. Noise barriers have always been built with the sole objective of reducing noise or noise pollution. However, the goal has evolved to merge noise reduction with sustainable energy generation.

Thus, noise barriers that combine solar and sound energy into one have been developed in the United States and have already been installed in 37,000 homes and buildings, resulting in the generation of about 400 gigawatt-hours per year.

6-The wonder material Perovskite

This is not a new technology as such but the use of this material will be a full-fledged innovation in the world of solar energy. This mineral which is rarely found on our earth’s surface but can be easily replicated in laboratories adds new improvements to solar panels.

Perovskite allows the creation of an envelope for solar cells that increases their efficiency by 13.7%. You can even make solar cells from perovskite itself and wrap them in a thin layer of either traditional glass or more perovskite which will increase efficiency by an incredible 22.3% perovskite could become one of the biggest innovations in renewable energy in the next few years.