Using Machine Learning & Neural Networks to Maximize Solar Energy Globally

Using Machine Learning & Neural Networks to Maximize Solar Energy Globally

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Scientists are all the time looking out for methods to make our world a greater place, and one space they’re specializing in is photo voltaic vitality. One thought on this space is to make photo voltaic cells extra environment friendly by concentrating extra photo voltaic gentle onto them. While investigating this just lately, a bunch of scientists on the Cavendish Laboratory and AMOLF (Amsterdam NL) have discovered that bettering photo voltaic cells effectivity on this approach is more durable than we would suppose however have found different avenues by which it may be doable to enhance photo voltaic vitality seize anyplace on the planet.
The researchers had been all in favour of discovering out if photo voltaic cells, gadgets that flip daylight into electrical energy, might be tweaked to carry out higher in several components of the world, the place focus of photo voltaic gentle could also be greater. To look at this, they used machine studying fashions and neural networks (AI) to perceive how the solar’s radiation would behave in several spots on Earth.
They built-in this information into an digital mannequin to calculate the photo voltaic cells’ output. By simulating varied eventualities, they might predict how a lot vitality the photo voltaic cells may produce at varied places worldwide.
Their findings, printed in Joule, nonetheless, revealed a stunning twist. “Making photo voltaic cells super-efficient seems to be very troublesome. So, as a substitute of simply attempting to make photo voltaic cells higher, we figured another methods to seize extra photo voltaic vitality,” mentioned Dr. Tomi Baikie, first writer of the research and Research Fellow on the Cavendish Laboratory and at Lucy Cavendish College. ”This might be actually useful for communities, giving them completely different choices to take into consideration, as a substitute of simply specializing in making the cells extra environment friendly with gentle.”
Imagine photo voltaic panels that may flex and fold like origami or develop into partially clear to mix seamlessly into environment and make them straightforward to set up. By enhancing the sturdiness and flexibility of those panels, they might be built-in into a variety of settings, promising longevity and effectivity.
“We counsel a unique plan that may make photo voltaic panels work properly in a lot of completely different locations all over the world,” mentioned Baikie. “The thought is to make them versatile, a bit see-through/semi-transparent, and in a position to fold up. This approach, the panels can match into every kind of locations.”
Figure 1: Simulation outcomes of sunshine concentrating gadgets all over the world.
Furthermore, the researchers advocate the usage of patterning the photo voltaic seize gadgets with the goal to optimise their association for optimum daylight absorption. This method holds the potential to enhance the design of photo voltaic arrays, growing their effectiveness in harnessing photo voltaic vitality.
“This realisation implies that we will now deal with various things as a substitute of simply making photo voltaic cells work higher. In future, we’re going to look at photo voltaic harvesting pathways that features tessellation. It’s like a puzzle sample that would assist us seize much more solar energy,” concluded Baikie.
By Pooja Pandey

Tomi Okay. Baikie et al., ‘Revealing the potential of luminescent photo voltaic concentrators in real-world environments‘, Joule, 2024, ISSN 2542-4351,
Featured picture: Photo of a lightweight concentrating machine exterior the Maxwell Centre at Cambridge. Credit: Tomi Baikie
Courtesy of University of Cambridge, Department of Physics.

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