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Are Liquid Solar Panels the Next Big Thing in Solar Power?

Updated: Feb 8

liquid solar

The need for a sustainable clean energy alternative has been increasing for years now due to rising carbon emissions and its effect on climate change. Many residential and commercial markets have turned towards alternative forms of electricity, such as solar power, to minimize their carbon footprint and help slow the effects of climate change. Approximately 3.2 million homes in the U.S. have solar panels, but that number is growing.

As a solar installer, it’s important to understand what technology is on the rise so you can be in the know when it’s time to start offering it to your customers. Recently, there have been developments of a new technology called liquid solar, which we’ll cover later in this blog. But first, let’s cover a review of traditional solar.

Traditional Solar PV Systems

Traditional solar energy works by panels absorbing heat from the sun’s radiation before converting it to electricity using an inverter. There are many kinds of inverters out there, like microinverters and string inverters. The former typically serves one individual panel, making it more efficient in offsetting any problems that shading or underperforming panels may have. The latter, on the other hand, uses a system that connects all the individual panels and is a good option for those who want to save more (as the first option comes at a steeper price). They can also be optimized to boost energy production to limit shading issues. Solar panels are loaded with a semiconductor material that converts UV rays into DC current. They also have optimum power integrity that allows them to output a consistent power supply without overloading themselves, no matter how much energy they absorb. Not only does this make the system long-lasting, but also efficient and cost-effective. Power production is still an issue with traditional solar. Standard panels only take in about 21% of energy due to the light reflecting and energy cells not making it into the inverter. Though the hardware is becoming more effective, many systems can still be insufficient to power households.

Liquid Solar

This form of solar energy still uses the same system and mechanisms that traditional solar uses but with the incorporation of a chemical called norbornadiene. This liquid can capture around 30% of raw radiation from sunlight, therefore increasing the capacity of the system from around 20% to more than 50%.

Aside from this, the chemical is said to last for years, if not decades. The scientists that developed it claim its potency can remain for over 18 years, meaning they can serve as truly effective long-term alternatives to fossil fuel-based energy. Liquid solar technology is innovative but still new and requires toxic solvents as a catalyst, which can be dangerous. Though its creators are currently trying to find alternative catalysts, the current version of the chemical may need extra precautionary measures.

Liquid Solar Vs. Traditional Solar Panels

Let's compare the two different approaches side-by-side.

Traditional Solar Panels:

  • Composition: Made of solid-state materials, typically silicon crystals.

  • Installation: Mounted on structures or rooftops in panel form.

  • Efficiency: Established solar panels have well-established efficiency rates, generally higher than emerging technologies.

  • Durability: Solid and durable structures designed to withstand various weather conditions.

  • Maturity: Commercially available and widely used for decades.

Liquid Solar (Solar Paint/Solar Ink):

  • Composition: Involves liquid or paint-like substances containing photovoltaic materials.

  • Installation: This can be applied to various surfaces, offering flexibility in design.

  • Efficiency: Typically, these technologies are in early developmental stages, and their efficiency may be lower than traditional solar panels.

  • Durability: Depending on the formulation, liquid solar technologies might face challenges in terms of durability and longevity.

  • Maturity: Considered experimental and not yet widely adopted for large-scale applications.

That being said, the use of norbornadiene could be a breakthrough in solar technology advancement as it improves UV ray capture effectiveness. As the technology develops, we may see safer alternatives that can allow safer use.


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