Three Experimental Uses for Solar Energy

experimental uses for solar energy

5-14-2015 Three Experimental Uses for Solar Energy

Rooftop solar is becoming a mainstream practice, which is great. However, we shouldn’t just stop with rooftop solar. There are plenty of different ways we can use solar energy to power other aspects of our lives.

Scientists are busy researching and experimenting with the latest solar technology advances to determine how many applications solar power has. A few of the cooler experimental uses for solar energy are listed below.

Solar Paint

One day, we may be able to paint our houses and cars with solar paint. Research is underway to create a class of organic photovoltaic material that can be placed into a special paint. Despite their lower efficiency, organic solar cells aren’t as expensive as conventional solar cell materials, namely silicon.

In order for solar paint to be competitive in the mainstream market, it needs to have a conversion efficiency of about 10%. If researchers can get solar paint to the 10% mark, it may become a feasible way for the masses to create their own solar energy.

Solar Fabric

The fashion world has long wanted to incorporate solar cells into its creations. There have been some attempts made, and solar-powered purses and backpacks are already being sold. However, traditional solar panels are stiff and fragile, so scientists have been exploring alternative solar applications.

What they’ve come up with is best described as solar fabric. It’s basically a flexible solar cell that’s woven into fabric. The possibilities for this type of application are endless. The military can use solar fabric for shelter while generating electricity. Everyday Americans can charge their phones from their jackets.

The technology still has a ways to go before it becomes mainstream, but the potential for affordable, durable solar fabric is a reality.


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Solar Plane

The Solar Impulse 2 made international headlines when it took off for the first leg of its 12-leg flight. Pilots Andre Borschberg and Bertrand Piccard have flown alternate legs of the trip. The plane started in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates, and it’s currently in Nanjing, China.

The next leg of the flight is from Nanjing to Hawaii, and the crew is still discussing when that flight will happen. You can keep up with the Solar Impulse at its official website, www.solarimpulse.com.

The Solar Impulse 2 is one of the coolest experimental uses for solar energy today. It opens a fascinating world of possibilities for transportation, especially aviation. As solar technology advances, solar planes may become an everyday occurrence.

The Reality of Experimental Uses for Solar Energy

It will probably take years before scientists and research companies are able to test and market these experimental uses for solar energy satisfactorily. Each experiment has its own challenges to overcome, and marketing agencies may have a difficult time selling solar products to the masses. However, given time and clever marketing, it’s possible that some of these experimental uses for solar energy may finally become a mainstream reality.

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