The ambition to create transparent solar panels is not new. In fact, in recent years we have sought to satisfy this foreseeable future demand with some research. Success with the goal has not always been achieved. But there are signs of its viability.
Recently, research by South Korean scientists proposed a much cheaper formula than the ones proposed to date. It was about creating transparent solar panels thanks to tiny holes in its surface. These gaps would be enough for light to pass through. But at the same time, there would be enough surface to generate energy.
In this case, it was about creating solar windows, which could generate energy for buildings. And it is that photovoltaic energy has become one of the elements of modern construction. At least that’s how you want it to be. Obviously the efficiencies derived from this are considerable.
They would also be in a greenhouse. And a team of American scientists has looked towards these structures. A paper from North Carolina State University proposes a formula for greenhouses to be covered with panels. The key is to separate certain wavelengths. Much of the energy a solar panel gets comes from wavelengths that plants do not use for photosynthesis.
Thus, the idea is to create transparent solar panels with a double objective. On the one hand, they have to allow light to pass through the plants. On the other, they have to take advantage of the light that is not used for photosynthesis to obtain energy.
The Marriage Between Greenhouses and Solar Panels
The researchers have created a computational model to calculate the energy that these panels should obtain. It is not a trivial matter. A greenhouse needs the sun for plants, but it also needs to maintain an optimal temperature for growth. To this is probably added the automation of the irrigation system. The goal is to make greenhouses neutral in carbon footprint.
Sometimes it is necessary to lower the temperature of the greenhouse. Here the panels are a help, since they reflect infrared radiation, thus avoiding overheating in summer. Other times you have to increase the temperature. Taking into account that the wavelengths would be selective, the researchers have calculated the amounts of energy according to different regions.