Solar radiation is directed further above the cloud formations. And while this information tells us nothing more for us, the same cannot be said for the NextPV working group, a Franco-Japanese research laboratory specializing in the field of photovoltaics. The NextPV laboratory is, in fact, working on the construction of special hot air balloons capable of capturing the sun’s rays above the clouds and converting them into clean energy. All this 24 hours a day.
Solar radiation above the cloud layer can generate three times the amount of current that can be obtained through normal photovoltaic panels placed on the ground .
High altitude photovoltaic balloons
The photovoltaic balloons are an innovative method for producing electricity from the sun, above the clouds
Many people in recent years, for economic reasons, respectful of the environment, have chosen to install solar panels on the roof of their house.
Who created the photovoltaic balloon?
Now, thanks to this innovative project developed by the Cool Earth company , solar energy is really accelerating. This company, in fact, has created the photovoltaic balloon that can produce up to 400 times more energy than conventional solar panels.
These revolutionary solar balloons have a diameter of about two meters and are capable of generating up to 500 watts of energy .
The main advantage presented by this ingenious invention is due to the spherical shape and its particular construction. The Solare photovoltaic balloons s are frontally in the sun with a transparent film, while the bottom is covered with photovoltaic cells with high capacity.
The dome concentrates the sun’s rays inwards, where the concave part precisely focuses them to a single point, like a large magnifying glass.
This feature allows solar balloons to amplify the power of sunlight to function even on poorly sunny days.
On the other hand, these photovoltaic solar balloons are also very strong, in fact, they are able to tolerate winds of more than 150 km per hour, but also rain, insects and dirt.
But what is more surprising, in addition to the specific technical characteristics, is its price, which is around $ 2 . Even the maintenance costs are really very low, which makes them even more competitive.
A team of researchers from NextPV, a laboratory jointly operated by the National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) and the University of Tokyo, is working on the construction of a prototype for high-altitude solar balloons.
Through the combination of photovoltaic panels, and the production of hydrogen fuel cells, these solar balloons are intended to be a unique solution to overcome the limitations of photovoltaic on the ground and generate clean energy day and night from above the clouds.
Solar power is potentially very important to the future of renewable energy, but standard solar PV systems have some weaknesses that prevent them from being more widely adopted.
Aside from the relatively high cost to install a solar PV park (although that is declining rapidly, it is still out of reach for many people), two other related issues continue to challenge the industry as a whole, namely: the need for energy storage. for the night and the effects of clouds and weather on solar electricity production.
And it is precisely this point that is the importance of the solar balloon designed by NextPV, since this news could be a possible solution to both problems:
The system, in fact, combines the direct production of solar energy during the day, with the production of hydrogen, which serves as a means of storing energy and then producing it in a fuel cell, when the sun has gone down.
The researchers argue that the yields of a “solar panel system” deployed beyond the clouds (6 km above the earth) could multiply, being free from the effects of cloud cover, and the balloons could produce three times more electricity than ground systems.
This innovation is still just an idea, but the NextPV expects it to produce a working prototype in the next two years and, at that point, the real challenge will begin is comparing surface technologies with concrete problems that will arise when actually building a system like this.
Solar farms in the sky
Photovoltaic balloons are still in the concept phase, but the team led by François Guillemoles plans to build the first functional prototypes in the next two years. However, it will be necessary to solve some technical challenges of some importance, among them the need for special connection cables, very long and capable of transporting the energy produced in height to the ground.