The last thing that comes into my mind when thinking about solar panels is how they are cooled, after all they are designed to have the sun shining on them for 65% of the day every day. Solar power cells need to stay relatively cool for the sake of both efficiency and longevity, but active cooling (like ventilation) isn’t practical; it’s expensive, and may block the very rays the cells are supposed to collect, which defeats the point of a solar panel all together.
Now, very clever researchers at Stanford University have created a new form of Solar Cell, one that cools itself without needing additional help. The new design consists of placing very small cone and pyramid shapes into the collector’s silica surface, bouncing hot infrared wavelengths away whilst letting in the visible light that generates the most energy, which is a win win if you ask me.
Scientists say that the results are very nearly ideal, the solar panel takes in more energy whilst reflecting most of the heat that hit it, prolonging the panels lifespan and cost efficiency. The team at Stanford University have a long way to go yet, including actual outdoor testing, but they see this new design hitting a commercial level in the not so distant future.
Thanks to Engadget for supplying us with this information.
Images courtesy of Engadget.