As the discussions are on curbing future Energy crises, South Africa seeks to find better alternatives to reduce its need for power generation from coal. Focus has moved to Nuclear power as the alternative. We look at what strides are being made to improve renewable energy technology in reducing its limitations.
Where the future of Solar stands
We have seen a significant increase in solar power generation, as the focus on energy moves towards sustainable renewable energy, due to the increase in electricity tariffs and the unstable supply experienced over the last couple of years.
This momentum might soon be impeached by the rolling out of Nuclear power deals, which many consider as a more reliable source, to meet the energy demands, with Renewable Energy becoming the casualty. In this case of Solar Energy, some argue against its reliability due to poor performance in bad weather conditions.
Generating Energy from rain
At the moment Solar panels reach optimum performance under clear sunny conditions and suffer under cloudy rainy conditions. Fortunately this is likely to change, because of research done by Chinese Scientists to develop Solar Panels with the ability to produce electricity using rain water.
This is achieved by coating the solar cells with a layer of graphene that reacts with rain water to produce electricity. The water contains salt ions such as ammonium, calcium and sodium which on coming in contact with the electron enriched graphene excites an electric current.
Usually PV systems in regions like the Western Cape with lengthy rain spells, experience a decrease in generation capacity during the winter season. With this research, Solar PV systems will be able to generate more energy per year without increasing the size of the system, which will therefor improve the payback period on these systems and thus make solar energy a more lucrative investment.
Certainly with continued research in advancing solar generation, we will soon be able to pronounce the words sustainable and reliable Solar Energy within a single phrase.