Solar Cells Generate Power from Rain

Tuesday, April 12, 2016 - 12:41

Chinese researchers have developed a new all-weather solar cell design that is able to generate electricity when it is raining.

According to Gizmag, currently solar panels generate the most energy on clear, sunny days, and produce 10 to 25 per cent less electricity on cloudy ones but the new all-weather solar panels can create electricity from light on sunny days and from rain on cloudy days.

When graphene is placed in an aqueous solution, it gains the ability to bind a pair of positively charged ions with a pair of its negatively charged electrons in what is known as a Lewis acid-base reaction. The all-weather solar panels have a top layer made from "electron-enriched graphene" that reacts with ions in the rain to generate energy.

The technology is not yet perfect, and remains a lot less efficient than the top solar panels available at the moment. The rain panels convert about 6.5 per cent of the energy they receive, whereas the best solar panels can convert up to 22.5 per cent.

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