‘Night solar panels’ are able to generate enough energy to charge a phone.
The panels were discovered in 2020, when scientists at the University of California Davis, US, hit the mainstream with a research team that added a thermoelectric generator – a device that produces currents from temperature differences – to one of these particular solar panels.
They work by using the heat or infrared light radiated from the surface of the solar panel into space on clear nights.
“So, at night, the solar panel can actually reach a temperature that’s below the ambient air temperature, and that’s a rather unusual opportunity for power harvesting.”
By knowledge, solar panels have suffered from the effects of changeable seasons and the fact that they don’t work at night. The nighttime solar cells essentially work the same way as their daylight counterparts but in reverse. Every night, heat escapes the earth in the form of infrared radiation in order to keep the planet at a constant temperature.
Can you imagine that there is one thing we do everyday that gave the idea for night solar panels?
Well, people have been using similar technology to achieve nighttime cooling for hundreds of years. When you open your windows and doors after a hot day to cool down your house, you are using the same theory. Essentially this form of passive cooling uses the night sky as a massive heat sink, drawing warmth away from the earth once it gets dark.
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