No, it’s not April Fool’s Day just yet, scientists really have invented a solar panel material that not only generates electricity when it’s sunny but also uses the energy in falling raindrops to generate power too.
Qunwei Tang, Xiaopeng Wang, Peizhi Yang, and Benlin He describe a a solar cell that is triggered by both rain and shine in the journal Angewandte Chemie this week. It works by “combining an electron-enriched graphene electrode with a dye-sensitized solar cell. The new solar cell can be excited by incident light on sunny days and raindrops on rainy days,” the team reports. The concept, they say, will guide the design of all-weather solar cells.
Tang, Q., Wang, X., Yang, P. and He, B. (2016), A Solar Cell That Is Triggered by Sun and Rain. Angew. Chem.. doi:10.1002/ange.201602114