The Changing Face of Solar Panels

Solar power as we know it is now 178 years […]

Post Author:

Climate State

Date Posted:

December 29, 2017

Solar power as we know it is now 178 years old. Solar panels are somewhat more recent, but they have now been a part of the international debate on environmentalism and green tech for a good while. California is now 40% solar powered on a hot day, and huge projects are taking place in every sunny spot in the world as part of an encouraging charge for better environmental standards.

However, there stands to be much to be done, with some scientists predicting a 4 degree warm. Often standing in the way is scientific progress – how can we do more, with less? When it comes to solar panels, there are lots of innovative new methods.

New Designs and Opportunities

Solar panels were once perceived as inflexible – however, advances in technology mean that this isn’t the case any more. The pace of innovation means that solar power is widely available across new properties and businesses in ways not apparent before. There is even the option now for solar ‘skin’, where panels are molded to the shape of a building through the use of interlocking cells. This has taken a more innovative turn as UC Berkeley developed a shape-shifting material that could feasibly be used to create ultra flexible and portable solar cells for every surface of the exterior.

Wearable Solar

Many exercise fanatics use devices like portable health and fitness trackers alongside other devices, like smartphones, to provide a soundtrack to their workouts. So too do delivery drivers and other courier profession workers, who use portable pads and GPS systems for every minute of the day. The result is a large drain on the energy networks. To help with this, wearable solar panels have been developed that can be wrapped around wrists, and ankles, to help charge devices on the go.


Solar panels have been hampered for years by the storage question. Unless the electricity is immediately sunk back into the energy system, you are faced with the prospect of storage for hundreds of tonnes of liquid salt. To assist with this, MIT professors created a new material that is able to hold energy and, on request, release some of it for usage, bringing about a possible solution to the storage conundrum.

Alongside wind and tidal power, solar panels are one of the key ways the globe can produce their energy requirements from totally renewable sources – well, for the next multiple million years until the sun expands, anyway! Technological blocks are there, but innovators are finding ways around them, much to our benefit as a world.

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Climate State covers the broad spectrum of climate change, and the solutions, since around 2011 with the focus on the sciences. Views expressed on this site or on social media are not necessarily the views by Climate State – we endorse data, facts, empirical evidence.
Categories: 2017, Clean Tech, Solar Power(2023)
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