Solar energy is a popular source of renewable power. As research continues into this evolving field of technology, more benefits of using solar panels to capture the sun’s natural power are coming to light. Domestically, solar panels can be used for supplying power to the home, but with recent technological advances allowing new types of solar film to be placed over windows, homeowners are also reaping the benefits of shade and insulation. Find out how solar panels can act as roof shades and provide insulation, and see what the future of solar technology might look like.
Solar panels have been appearing on people’s roofs for decades now, drawing in and storing the sun’s power to provide a cheap, clean energy source for heating and power in the home. However, researchers have noticed that these panels also have beneficial side-effects, and scientists and manufacturers are exploring the various possibilities of solar panels.
Solar panels as roof shades
Roofs have always been the logical place for solar equipment, but thoughtful placement of the panels can increase their ability to provide shade. Photovoltaic sheets positioned slightly above the roof and at a tilt, actually let air go in between the panels and the surface of the roof, allowing the building to be cooler. The special solar surface is designed to absorb the heat from the sun to use it as energy, but at the same time it prevents the heat from hitting the top of the building directly, and acts like a shade umbrella. More efficient solar panels result in a greater cooling effect because of their ability to soak up more warmth.
Solar panels as insulation
Because of the air between the solar plates and the roof, the effect of insulation can also be achieved. During the winter, solar panels may unfortunately take up and block heat that could warm up the house naturally, but they are believed to be useful during the night by keeping in the existing heat of the house. Depending on the climate, and in places with hot days and cold nights, this could be advantageous.
Solar window film as insulation
Newer technology is focused on the concept of different types of solar film which can be placed on windows without affecting visibility too much. This transparent film is designed to absorb or deflect infrared and ultraviolet light from the spectrum that is invisible to humans, but to allow visible light through the membrane. This means that the solar energy it attracts can be used to generate power, but that the sun’s heat is not passed on into the house.
In contrast, darker, non-transparent film can be made to block both visible and ultraviolet light, transferring the heat into the room but making more indoor lighting necessary.
The solar technology of the future
As experts develop the idea of truly transparent solar cells, it is becoming clear that this concept could be used on many surfaces other than roofs, walls and windows. Computers, tablets and smartphones look to be next in line to house solar technology, as a transparent membrane placed over screens could absorb ultraviolet and infrared rays to charge and run the devices. Transparent solar cells could even be used on other materials like clothing, hats and sunglasses. As futuristic as it may sound, this could all be just around the corner. Watch and see how the future develops in light of the diverse possibilities of solar energy.