To do this, the newly adapted solar panels harvest electricity from the temperature difference between the solar cells and their ambient surroundings.
Although it is typically more challenging to generate solar energy at night, scientists have managed to overcome this feat and shown in their most recent study that they managed to generate 50 milliwatts per square metre during this night-time period. This achievement opens up the doors for a new type of solar power system that can be used as a renewable power source both day and night, even in off-grid locations and remote areas.
Despite not generating as much power as commercial solar panels in the day (50 milliwatts compared with around 200 watts for one solar panel) the amount generated could still have its uses, states Fan, a professor of electrical engineering. This could be uses such as charging devices, night time lighting and keeping sensors online.
Other solar projects are also currently being expanded and planned around the world, including several locations in the US, which are planning to turn several abandoned coal mines into solar farms.