Solar panel-like device can generate power even when shadowed | The Optimist Daily
Today’s Solutions: July 12, 2024

While shadows reduce a solar panel’s ability to generate electricity, a new innovative device is using shadows to its advantage. Developed by scientists at the National University of Singapore, the strange new device is capable of generating electricity from the darkness.

The gadget dubbed a “shadow-effect energy generator,” is a solar cell-like material that generates an electrical current when part of it is in the light and the other part isn’t. While the electric current from the proof-of-concept generators is weak for now, it hints at a future in which clean energy generation becomes far more ubiquitous and commonplace.

As the scientists explain, when only a part of the generator is illuminated, electrons flow across a gold coating from light to dark areas. Capturing that flow generates power twice as effectively as conventional solar cells blanketed by shade. “We can harvest energy anywhere on Earth, not just open spaces,” said materials scientist Swee Ching Tan.

While these generators can’t solve the energy crisis yet, one potential use could be to power wearables like smartwatches, which can’t depend on steady or full sunlight.

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