New solar panel creates power from rain, as well as the sun

With an upcoming data tsunami expected to absorb up to 20 percent of global electricity by 2025, according to some experts, data center energy sources are a hot talking point — the photovoltaic solar panel being one of the hottest and most viable fossil fuel alternatives.

However, there’s an obvious problem with the solar panel as electricity source: When sunlight drops off on cloudy or rainy days, so does power output.

Chinese scientists, though, think they have a solution, and that’s to develop a generalized hybrid panel that also harnesses the power of rain. It compensates for lack of sun on iffy days and at night.

“Solar cells, as promising devices for converting light into electricity, have a dramatically reduced performance on rainy days,” say the scientists from Soochow University in an abstract of their paper published in the American Chemical Society’s ACS Nano. So they think they can “realize power generation from both sunlight and raindrops.”

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