Solar Panels with Snow

Electricity is obtained through solar panels with snow

Solar panels, when the day is cloudy or a snowfall that covers the surface, cannot work properly. But what if panels were created that obtain electricity from snow?

Development of its technology

At the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) a group of researchers led by Richard B. Kaner developed a device called Snow TENG. A triboelectric nanogenerator based on snow, which consists of a small electronic chip that can use mechanical movements of a body to generate electricity. Used for when the snow falls on the solar panels, they can obtain energy from it.

This project arises with the triboelectric effect, because electrons have the property of producing electricity through the friction produced between two materials that have opposite polarity generating static electricity.

What is static electricity?

Static electricity is produced from the interaction of a material that captures electrons and another that abandons electrons, separating charges and creating electricity from nothing.

How does it work?

Snow has a positive charge so when it rubs against a negatively charged material, it produces electricity. The negative charge is silicone, similar to synthetic rubber, is composed of silicon atoms and oxygen atoms, combined with carbon, hydrogen and other elements.

This device can be printed with a simple 3D printer, creating a layer of silicone that we attach to an electrode and placing it on the solar panel, the friction with the snow produces the energy.

The energy produced is enough to power sensors for temperature, wind or pressure. So, this device can work in remote areas because it produces its own energy and does not need batteries.

However, the problem with Snow TENG is that it produces a very small amount of electricity in its current form because it has a power density of 0.2 mW per square meter. This means that you really cannot be connecting to the network like a solar panel, but it could be a small self-powered deep L sensor.

We were surprised to discover that other researchers have thought that they can be placed on the bottom of boots or skis looking for different utilities to that device.


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