Researchers at Soochow University, located in Suzhou in China’s Jiangsu Province, have developed a solar panel that can generate power from raindrops.
The technology is now able to tackle one of solar power’s biggest problems – bad weather.
The device uses two layers of transparent polymer placed on top of a solar photovoltaic (PV) cell.
The friction of rain drops slipping on the device’s surface creates a static electricity charge.
“Our device can always generate electricity in any daytime weather,” stated Baoquan Sun, Professor at Soochow University, the Guardian reported.
“In addition, this device even provides electricity at night if there is rain,” he added.
The technology is not the first of its kind, with other researchers having created similar solar devices, referred to as triboelectric nanogenerators.
However, Soochow University’s project is the most simple and efficient, with one polymer layer becoming an electrode for both the solar cell and the triboelectric nanogenerators.
“Due to our unique device design, it becomes a lightweight device,” Sun continued.
“In future, we are exploring integrating these into mobile and flexible devices, such as electronic clothes. However, the output power efficiency needs to be further improved before practical application.”