Rocking Your Solar Panels

Who says only humans can feel the beat of pop-rock music. Turns out that a certain kind of solar cell can too; and in doing so, radically increase its performance.

Rocking Your Solar PanelsResearchers in the UK, at Queen Mary University of London and Imperial College London have discovered that blasting beats at zinc-oxide solar cells makes them perform up to 50% better. According to the researchers, pop and rock music gets the cells going more than classical music, but they suggest that any noise with a broad range of frequencies will produce similar effects.

Zinc-oxide nanorod designed solar cells are capable of responding to a broad range of sound frequencies, particularly that of rock music. The more energy delivered by the sound, the more the pressure wave deforms the rods resulting in a stronger electric field generated, which converts more incoming light to electricity-i.e. a higher conversion efficiency/better overall performance. The challenge now is two-fold: develop better solar cells; and optimize them for sound to energy conversion. And of course to do this as cheaply as possible. Today, zinc-oxide nanorod cells are just 1-2 percent efficient, but tomorrow they could be significantly greater.

Think of all the natural places there is a broad range of sound available to help boost nearby solar cell efficiencies, like: airports, large commercial roof-top air conditioning units, power plants, industrial process sites, railroads and transportation centers, and possibly along highways. Why let the noise go to waste……co-locate solar cells nearby.

Rock on!

Editor’s Deep Dive

Thomas Edison on Time MagazineThomas Edison said … “I’d put my money on the sun and solar energy. What a source of power! I hope we don’t have to wait until oil and coal run out before we tackle that. I wish I had more years left.”

Time ® is a registered trademark of Time Inc.

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1 Comment

  1. It is always amazing to me how people come up with ideas like this in the first place. Who would have thought to do something like this? Music and solar panels, interesting! A lot of military bases are utilizing solar panels these days, and now they will see that they work even better because they placed them near the air strip.
    Very interesting post!
    Michael Levanduski´s last blog post ..Wilmington Robotic Exoskeleton Allows Those Affected with Disease to Move Easier

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