Advanced Solar Materials

The power of the sun can be seen in all aspects of life. The sun provides warmth and energy that can be used in homes and businesses. We are always excited when new methods to harness the power of the sun’s rays are discovered. A few scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have discovered a solid material able to store heat from the sun and assume a charged state.

In the case of solar panels, solar power is used to create electricity usable in your home. When photons, or light particles, enter the solar panel cells, electrons are knocked free from the silicon, generating an electric current. Solar panels contain photovoltaic cells, which converts the sunlight into electricity. The amount of current produced is directly dependent on the amount of light that strikes the solar panels.


This new solid material, called azobenzene, utilizes sunlight and stores up a charge that can be released in the form of heat. As sunlight hits the solid material, it creates a charged state. The charge is maintained for a period of time and can be released with a small burst of heat. When the burst of heat is applied, the material returns to its original chemical composition and releases a large amount of heat energy.

Azobenzenes can be formed into thin, transparent films. Currently, this material functions mainly to heat up areas. Because of its thin and transparent nature, it could be used to defrost your windshields in the future. As this material develops further, people may use it to heat up a home effectively or even sew it into clothes to provide warmth in harsh environments.

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When you drive down the street and look up at all the solar panels that are on your neighbors rooftops, you may wonder what exactly they are made of and how they work. Over the years the technology and methods of installations for solar panels have allowed production and costs to be more efficient. Today, researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) are looking to evolve the solar industry even further by developing ultrathin, flexible photovoltaic cells.

Many of the photovoltaic solar arrays that you can find on the tops of rooftops are encased by glass. The glass is used as a protective layer that will allow the solar rays to pass through the arrays. The photons from the solar rays release electrons in the materials inside of the panels. The free electrons are then channeled through a current to produce electricity.

The researchers at MIT are looking for a new way to produce solar cells that will allow for more flexibility at the same time, remaining durable and efficient. What they have come up with is a cell that is a little bit thicker than the size of a hair that can be placed on almost any surface. The thin cells are capable of producing up to six watts of power per gram.

The size and flexibility of the cells will allow them to be placed on most surfaces without harming the structures of the cells. This can lead to solar energy being utilized on small technology devices such as cell phones and laptops. They can be incorporated into clothing that can be transferred into a small storage device to be used anytime.

Sol-Up has a mission to make Las Vegas the solar capital of the world. We fight for the rights of all solar customers in the valley as well as the state. For more information and to start your journey to solar, visit our website or call us at 702-586-9800.

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