Not only are they high above us – they also offer us great benefits. From SINTEF’s new solar panel laboratory, you can see all across the city of Trondheim. Here, conditions are optimal for research into solar panel performance at Nordic latitudes.
The sun shines just as much out at sea as it does on land. There are also no restrictions on area use and seawater even helps to cool the solar panel technology. It’s only a matter of time before the first floating solar energy farms are installed at sea.
State-of-the-art solar cells are efficient – but are even more so when they are kept clean. A cleaning robot developed by Norwegian researchers enables solar panels to deliver at full capacity.
Production of electricity is responsible for about a quarter of global greenhouse gas emissions, and demand is poised to rise as underserved populations connect to the grid, and electronics and electric vehicles proliferate. So stopping global warming will require a transformation of electricity production. But it is important to avoid various environmental pitfalls in this transition, researchers say.
Longyearbyen, the world’s most northerly city, could save more than 100 million kroner (11.5 million US dollars) a year in the cost of electricity, if a completely green hydrogen-fuelled power station is built in preference to laying a cable from the mainland, according to calculations made by SINTEF scientists.
Solar cells will soon become integrated into roofing and exterior facade materials. We will save on construction materials and manpower – and save money on our electricity bills too.
The solar cell industry is headed into clean-room labs to better understand and improve the materials that they are working with.