5 Inventions Showing Us the Future of Solar Energy



When you imagine the energy of the future, solar power is probably in the picture – but in recent years, less than 2% of the world’s electricity has come from solar power. Here are 5 new inventions that are likely to change that.

Hosted by: Hank Green

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48 comments

  1. Thermal fuel sounds like a good idea. They have been working on this with many variations. This idea almost sounds like those hot packs you squeeze the device to activate it.

  2. The physics of solar cells are as boring as boiling eggs. Fermi levels and depletion layers bores me to no end. Now, give me a gas turbine or a coal fired power plant and I’ll show you some real physics. Real science happens when you make electricity from fossil fuels.

  3. Thank you so much, this is very helpful on our project. Thanks a lot

    -Future engineer here in the Philippines 🙂

  4. Solar panels over crops is so obviously stupid because it reduces the amount of sun reaching the plants. Floatovoltaics makes some sense though.

  5. I can't get enough of this, if you are like me you should have a look over at "Planet of the Humans"

  6. Vast fields of solar power will not win. There are great turbine projects too but wind energy is also soon to be obsolete. The fusion nuclear SAFIRE GENERATOR by Aureon Energy Ltd. of Canada is the actually cheapest, cleanest and least expensive solution for clean electricity. Wind energy, solar, hydro and other green technologies are now just superseded. Hydrogen will not either become a future conventional fuel but a nuclear fusion one! Electric power is the future for autonomous small aircraft and with ever more battery energy storage density perhaps some larger ones. However, FUSION NUCLEAR IS THE FUTURE of ever-larger commercial and military aircraft. Now we have a 24 hr. reliable fusion power product. We now in 2021 have super cheap nuclear fusion energy already proven and almost commercialised as in being in advanced production, that of the "SAFIRE GENERATOR". So sadly, storage technologies and the power from ITER-type fusion power generators as well as conventional fission nuclear are going to be eclipsed. Current magnetic plasma confinement strategies and all current green energy technologies are totally out of date and relatively redundant. All our effort must now go into EVER HIGHER ENERGY DENSITY BATTERIES because green energy is now solved. With intermittent green energies we need an enlarged electric grid, so we see wind generators, solar farms and a multitude of variable green technologies with expensive backup batteries and they are all ugly and use up much land, while also being significantly capital intensive and all while having some safety issues. They are all also going to be unnecessary with the advent of the "SAFIRE GENERATOR" that is safe, costlessly self-fueling, totally green, buildable on any scale on a tiny footprint to safely match local community requirement and it is easily chokeable and 24 hours dependable. It makes all other technologies redundant as in being much less advantageous. It is fusion nuclear powered by nuclear "NUCHEMY" and seen at "AUREON ENERGY.COM". Also learn your new plasma physics, astrophysics, and general Electric Universe Theory at "THUNDERBOLTS PROJECT.COM". This way you can learn your new EU Theory, advanced plasma physics and all needed to fully understand all this new academic and practical material. and appreciate that all the other green technologies are currently just now superseded.

  7. I believe that automobiles can make their own energy while driving down the road.  Beneath the automobile are four tires.  Why cant these tires be turned into turbines?  A turbine is a device that harnesses the kinetic energy of some fluid such as water, steam, air or combustion gases and turns this into the rotational motion of the device itself.  These devices are generally used in electrical generation, engines, and propulsion systems and are classified as a type of engine.  Below the automobile is four wheels that are spinning a lot of the time getting the driver from point a to point b.  While the tires are spinning down the road—why can't they be producing electricity and sending that electricity back into the battery that is powering the automobile in the first place.  Before there were battery powered automobiles—this would not be feasible.  Where would this generated electricity go?  It is not like there is a place to store this much electricity in an automobile powered by gasoline.  However, now that automobiles are powered by large batteries, there is a place to store this electricity to be used for more trips in the future.  Just inside the tire there can be built into the tire a large copper rim that would be used instead of a steel or aluminum.  In the center of the tire where the axil is is a very powerful electro magnet.  This powerful electro magnet should not spin with the tire but should be stationery.  Either ball bearings or some other mechanism should be used to make the electro magnet in the center of the tire not move with the tire but be stationery.  So, the copper band which makes up the rim of the tire spins around the electro magnet where the axil is–producing electricity and this electricity is fed into the battery of the car by electric wires.  The battery stores this electricity for future road trips.  If the battery is efficient enough and the copper band and electro magnets in each four tires are powerful enough—-a surplus of electricity/energy my be produced.  This means that more electricity is produced than is needed to run the automobile.  This surplus of energy is called the efficiency threshold.  This is not a perpetual motion machine—just a surplus of energy through mechanical means.  This surplus of energy could be fed back into the home/ and or electric grid when the automobile is parked.  In fact, why not have a home generator based on this principle.  If the automobile is suspended off the ground—and the tires rotate but don't go anywhere, but just produce electricity in surplus for the home—then the home could have almost perpetual electrical energy generated this way.  This would be a basic model but soon it would be streamlined for home or business use.  No more need for coal, gas, oil, or nuclear power plants to power anything.  Purely clean electricity–no need for the sun or wind power.  It is self sustaining and mobile form of energy that can be taken anywhere–even to outer space.

  8. Actually 100% of energy is from solar. Fossil fuels ARE solar, only just hundreds of millions of years of solar, growing, gathering, fossilizing. Just not renewable.

  9. The most important thing now is Storage, storage and storage to store the electricity. Lead acid batteries is a dead duck and lithium ion batteries are too costly . Solve this problem and wa laa

  10. You are wrong, in India i had a solar panel that connected with a fan. Fan move very fast when sunshine and move slow when any clouds. I play with that in my childhood.😊

  11. I bet those farmers are just going to love having obstacles in the way when they tried to plow their fields

  12. Tinted windows, and roofs are good. Opon land is not. I like the agrifarms, open land and open water is not!

  13. So here the thing (I know because I'm an inorganic materials chemist who works directly on this problem). Silicon (even doped) is hardly the most efficient material to use for solar power. It's band gap is 1.1eV, which while isn't bad isn't the ideal 1.4eV (the theoretical best band gap for photovoltaics, which I will say only predicts a max of 32% efficiency). I'm working on a class of chemicals called perovskites, which can get much closer to the magic 1.4eV (I think the best we've gotten so far is 1.52eV) that could one day replace traditional solar panels. Unfortunately a lot of perovskites are subject to degradation in ambient conditions. That's where my research comes in. I'm trying to find perovskite-like compounds that are stable in all sorts of environments while still maintaining a better-than-silicon ban gap.

  14. But the price is still so much expensive that I cannot afford to buy a mere 1kw of solar set up in the Philippines.

  15. Solar is a terrible energy source for global energy. It can't reliably be scaled up and down as energy demands climb and fall, it is massively material intensive requiring massive wide-scale strip-mining operations to build the solar panels and batteries required, it generates enormous amounts of non recyclable waste, and the battery technology to get around its notorious reliability issues is currently scientifically infeasible.

    Solar is a fools gambit. Stop being fools. If you want a real solution for clean energy, look at things like nuclear, thermal, tidal, hydro, etc.

  16. Solar has no future, if it were not for government rebates At the taxpayers expense, Or forced upon you,nobody would buy it.

  17. if these 5 invention in solar power technology is not enough & if these new invention is not yet well know, then this invention is a game changer, a student from one of the universities in the Philippines found a way to harness UV light as solar panel energizer using vegetable waste product. both normal visible light & UV light energize the solar panel. UV light abound day & night 24/7 so this invention might surpass the capability of some solar panel including those window solar panel. this invention tested & won a contest in science through the sponsorship of Dyson Corp. there might be a possibility that Tesla might use this in the future because installed on plastic medium it could be folded as show on its demo

  18. Agrivoltaics looks like the perfect marrige between technology and nature.
    Build solar panels over plants that will prevent the panels from overheating.
    plus it is a fancy word that i can disguise my low intelect with

  19. I HAVE TWO IDEAS TO IMPROVE SOLAR POWER I THINK COULD WORK. THE 1ST ONE IS TO MAGNIFY ALL PANELS WITH A CONVEX PLASTIC LENS TO IMPROVE AVAILABLE LIGHT EVEN ON OVERCAST DAYS. THE OTHER IS TO INCORPORATE NIGHT VISION CAPABILITIES ON EACH PANEL SO EVEN PITCH BLACK NIGHTS COULD POWER LIGHTS. AS I SEE IT ONLY WHEN SOLAR PANELS ARE THE SIZE OF A POSTAGE STAMP WHICH ONE COULD POWER A RADIO ALL DAY.!!!!!

  20. I'm a big fan of renewable energy. That's why I invested in (Ascent Solar Technologies). Technology is changing rapidly, and the future looks brighter. More people want easy access to cleaner energy, regardless if it's for their cellphone, house, or transportation.

  21. My husband and I both watched this today – and we had a question regarding agrovolltaics: does this arrangement affect crop growth? It would seem a poor trade if solar panel efficiency went up 5% while crop growth fell by a large amount. Thank you for all the wonderful work you do. We have become huge fans during quarantine, and plan to keep up with you.

  22. nice to know about PV trackers. we are in process to install solar power over large base. and PV trackers is just something we were looking for. cheers.

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