The use of solar power is nothing new. Solar panels have been utilized for many years now and have lead to great technological advancements in various industries. The technology has developed over time, with solar panels now being manufactured in a more sustainable manner—in fact, they can be almost entirely recycled at the end of their life. These recent advancements have given way to even more innovative uses for solar energy, from everyday use to application in advanced industrial work. This guide explores three innovative uses for solar energy and what such innovations mean for future sustainable living.
Solar energy is most commonly utilized to produce power and electricity, as is the case with solar paint. Unlike in solar panels, where solar cells are constructed with silicon, solar paint constructs solar cells by dissolving polymers in a specialized solvent. This creates a coating that can then be applied to houses, cars, and everything in between. This application of solar energy is much less bulky than the standard photovoltaic solar cells that are used in solar panels. As such, it has many more purposes. The minuscule light receptors in the paint absorb and transform solar energy into electricity at a fraction of a solar panel installation’s cost.
Solar windows utilize much of the same technology as solar paint. Using small light receptors, the windows absorb and convert sunlight into usable energy and electricity. The current technology transforms transparent windows into tinted glass. Once tinted, the glass absorbs more sunlight. Because glass must be at least somewhat transparent, however, solar windows cannot produce the same amount of energy as standard solar panels. But even at a slightly lower percentage, the use of solar windows in skyscrapers and cities could cause a major shift toward renewable energy in the future.
Solar Water Purifiers
The desalination of seawater is a process that once required significant time and heat to complete safely and effectively. Thanks to solar power, however, this process is much more accessible. The process of converting salt water into usable freshwater—otherwise known as desalination—once required an extremely high temperature to boil the water. The process required a fair amount of energy to work correctly and was, therefore, not a wholly sustainable practice. The introduction of solar energy makes the process more sustainable and increases the ability to provide clean water at a reduced energy output.