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Electronics news

Indoor solar panels - powering smart devices

Solar panel technology is making its way indoors to power a host of smart devices, opening new horizons for energy-efficient solutions.

Researchers have explored the potential of photovoltaic systems for use as indoor lighting.

Although solar cells are designed to efficiently convert sunlight into electricity, they have so far been optimized for indoor lighting applications. To fill this gap, physicist Uli Würfel and colleagues set out to test the most efficient photovoltaic materials for converting unnatural light sources into electrical energy.

The researchers tested eight types of photovoltaic devices. Photovoltaic cells based on indium and gallium phosphide took the lead, showing 40% efficiency indoors. Crystalline silicon, on the other hand, showed exceptional efficiency in sunlight and average efficiency in indoor lighting. However, using indium and gallium phosphide to power smart home systems is expensive. In contrast, perovskite minerals and organic film photovoltaic cells offer cost-effective alternatives. In addition, they have higher stability under indoor lighting conditions.

The study provided valuable insights into indoor light energy conversion: it revealed that part of the light energy is dissipated as heat rather than being converted into electricity. This knowledge will play a crucial role in optimizing future photovoltaic technologies.