CHOICE membership

New "Reverse" Solar Panels Generate Electricity At Night

An article regarding scientific research into producing electricity from panels at night and irrespective of the weather.



Looking at the other headlines on that page, I think I’ve gathered a pretty good idea of the standards at that site…

From the article:
“…the device can produce a tiny 64 nanowatts of power per square metre.”

Typical PV panels produce 150-200W/m^2 in full sun - billions of times more. Cover your roof with these and produce as much energy in over 8 million years as an existing array does in one day!

Sounds like something of a beat-up story to me. There will be no “soon slash your energy bills” any time in the foreseeable future from this!


I would be curious to know how many nanowatts per m^2 a conventional solar panel would generate at night during a full moon? during a new moon (i.e. starlight only)?


Full Moon is about 500,000 times dimmer than the Sun, so hundreds of thousands of times more power from existing PV panels than the devices in the story. However, the power level is still so low that it will not operate any electronics for power output.


I posted the article as an interesting item regarding scientific research as I noted in my text above the article, not because The Sun had a sensational claim regarding powering your home for free very shortly.

Whether it comes to fruition remains to be seen, as with any research project.

Some 50 years ago, Philips supplied all the new radiocommunication equipment to the Northern Electric Authority where I was working for the extension of the 132kv transmission lines from Collinsville to the coal mines opening up in the Bowen Basin.

The equipment included a two-way radio repeater and a radio link for installation in a remote area without any mains power.

As solar panels were not available back them, Philips supplied a 3M invention which burnt LPG gas to produce 12V DC to charge the batteries which worked well.

A decade later, we were using Australian made Solarex solar panels which only had a 22 watt, 12V DC output and cost over $400 each, or some $20 per watt.

Now we have solar panels producing hundreds of watts each at a cost of around $1 per watt, and with a much smaller surface area per watt.

So if this new technology does prove viable, it could well follow the trend of PV panels.


Ignoring the miniscule power available now they claim a theoretical maximum power output of ~4W/m^2 so if they ever reach 100% efficiency they will only be around two percent as powerful as current solar panels. If they cannot get anywhere near 100% then … you get the drift.

Disregarding the likelihood of finding funding to develop such a puny device there seems to be some divergence between your definition of fruition and mine.


The headline made me think they take power from the grid and radiate it back in to space - maybe a few big incandescent globes would be cheaper :rofl::rofl::rofl::rofl:


It made me think of an array of peltier effect devices and self circulating heat pipes connecting into the house to use the loss or radiated energy to create a temperature differential to drive generation from the devices. That might almost seem sensible if you say it fast enough.

Not only a solution in the realms of scientific possibility, but demonstrated in a number of real life examples. Perhaps even practical for the power from your roof to charge a Fitbit overnight. Wow!

I was so disappointed. :worried:

I felt very let down, I nearly needed to go to the local Naturopath for treatment. :roll_eyes: