Beth Parks, an associate professor at Colgate University, with her team, created a design that stores larger amount of sunlight than in existing solar cells. Electricity generated with this design has potential use in lighting and charging on-site devices. The team will present this design in American Physical Society in Boston this week.
A Shift from Exploiting Natural Resources to Efficiently Using them
Natural resources play an integral part in our lives and are aggressively used to meet the day-to-day necessities. Use of fossil fuels at the consumer level might be a distinct idea in developed regions, but they are vigorously used in developing regions. However, the technological changes have changed things drastically in the past two years. Development of off-grid renewable energy sources that generate electricity can be one of the most appropriate solutions.
Taking the example of Uganda, on an average 23% people do not have access to electricity. Use of these solar cells in this region will enhance the overall quality of life in this region. Moreover, there will be enough electricity to power light and charge radios and cell phones.
Beth used a bucket of rocks placed on the west side of the frame and a bucket of water placed on the opposite side. She managed the flow of water to shift bucket. This helps the panel to rotate slowly following the movement of the sun throughout the day.
She tested her design on 20 random days and captured 30% more sunlight with its moving frame. This is much higher than the sunlight stored in stationary solar cells placed in the same location. Moreover, the cost of the system is 10% lower than rooftop solar cell panels. This system will be highly beneficial in developing regions especially in the remote areas.