Ever since the 1950’s when solar energy made its major debut, scientists have been integrating the power of the sun into old and new technology. Besides the more public uses of solar tech such as rooftop solar panels and certain solar enhanced cars, there are plenty of uncommon uses of solar energy of which most people haven’t even heard. This week, we’re discussing different ways the sun can be harnessed, and some of its uses are sure to surprise you.
One solar-powered technological advancement is solar windows, which are not currently available for commercial distribution. The idea of solar powered windows is that they work exactly like the panels on your roof, without taking up the extra space. Solar windows are referred to as “building-integrated photovoltaics“, or BIPV. This simply means that instead of being installed on top of or in addition to previously existing surfaces, the solar panels are integrated straight into the surface. Solar windows will not be attached to existing windows but will replace the entire window unit and act independently. By having solar windows on all sides of the house, homeowners can rest easy knowing the windows are sure to soak up the sun from any angle.
Solar paint is another unusual advancement that should hit the market within the next five years. This paint can be used on any surface too small to justify solar panels. Sheds, fences, light posts, doghouses, and even the paint on the streets can be electric powerhouses. Developed by the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT), the paint combines titanium oxide (commonly used in many wall paints today) with synthetic molybdenum-sulfide. The paint not only generates electricity by absorbing photovoltaic rays but also provides more durable paint protection and the synthetic molybdenum-sulfide absorbs excess moisture in the air.
You may have heard of cars being equipped with solar enhancements in order to improve efficiency and battery life. A less-commonly practiced use of solar energy for transportation involves similar practices with airplanes and boats. The first solar-powered airplane just made a full trip around the world and spent more than 23 days in the air. The wingspan of the Solar Impulse 2 is wider than a Boeing 747 and carries more than 17,000 solar cells on its wings. During the expedition across the globe, Bertrand Piccard and alternate pilot André Borschberg flew the plane in uncomfortable conditions (the pilot seat doubled as a toilet). However, they hope their excursion inspires more widespread use of clean energy power.
In addition to this groundbreaking solar powered plane, boats have been incorporating solar energy for the past few years. For example, the world’s largest solar-powered boat took to the water in 2013, circumnavigating the globe on solar power alone. Most boat owners enjoy the use of solar power because it enables them to cut back on noise, pollution, and the cost of gas. Overall, solar power in the boat industry has provided users a more relaxing experience.
Advancements Aren’t Stopping Now
Solar energy is only getting more affordable, accessible, and practical. Advancements aren’t slowing down now, and new gadgets hit the market every day. Now is the time to equip yourself and your family with solar energy so you can begin enjoying the benefits today. Call J-Tech to discuss how solar energy can improve energy efficiency in your home.