Posted by Solar energy guru | Filed under Solar panels & photovoltaic cells
Every year, billions of dollars are poured into developing new technologies and developments within the solar power industry. Despite this huge amount of money, time and energy put into developing solar energy, new ways of generating that energy are actually somewhat rare. Photovoltaic paint (or solar paint) is one of those products, and it’s one of the very few that has the potential to really change how we get energy. Solar paint is exactly what it sounds like, and while the ability to produce electricity with pain sounds impossible, there is a very real possibility that it will not only work, but that it will catch on very quickly as a legitimate way to get power.
Solar paint doesn’t just work by itself, however. Photovoltaic paint is composed of a combination of electrolytes, and in order for it to work correctly, it needs to be painted in layers on a steel surface. A total of four coats of solar paint have to be applied to the steel, starting with an undercoat and ending with the overcoat. In between are the coats that make the paint work: one of made solar cells, and another of white coating made of titanium dioxide that contains the electrolytes. This paint has to be applied to the steel sheets during the manufacturing process.
When the paint comes into contact with sunlight, the layer with solar cells reacts much the same way as a solar panel does – it separates the electrons from the light atoms and funnels them into the titanium dioxide layer. Once the solar cells are rid of the light atoms, they attract the electrons again and funnel them into the overall power system. This system doesn’t need to be made of silicon, like normal solar cells, and so it could be even cheaper than today’s solar panels.
This has the potential to be a very convenient way to absorb solar energy, because the solar paint would be applied to the steel sheets upon their manufacturing. Ideally, these sheets would cover housing roofs, and they would be able to produce a massive amount of electricity every year. It wouldn’t be enough to power an entire household, but it would cover more than half the power usage in most cases. Also, because of the construction of solar paint, these panels would work in cloudy days as well as sunny days meaning that they’ll probably produce solar power more consistently than normal solar panels.
Solar energy for houses has been explored in different places, usually in warm parts of the world that receive a lot of sunlight. The ability to absorb more power when it’s cloudy outside has the potential to save a lot more money for homeowners and to expand the usage of solar power. How effective solar paint will be in using low levels of sunlight remains to be seen, but it is an interesting possibility. Also solar paint has the ability to be a much cheaper energy alternative, and if the front-cost of building solar-using household decreases significantly, it will be a great boon to solar power worldwide.
What is the likelihood of photovoltaic paint being a major source of power? That remains to be seen. Photovoltaic paint has been thought to provide an energy source before, but proved to be too hard to manufacture. The cost benefit ratio, especially for developers, hasn’t worked out yet, which is why this product has never been released. Even now, solar pain has a long way to go before we can think of using it as a legitimate alternative power source.