Solar in 5 Unusual Places

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Photovoltaic panels that harvest sunlight are being used across the world — and even outside it — to generate clean electricity. Solar panels are most commonly found on rooftops and on large scale solar farms. However, given the widespread benefits of the technology it’s  unsurprising that it is being adopted for use in less common places. Here’s our list of top 5 unusual places where you can find solar.

  1. Solar Bike Highway 

A ‘bike highway’ running between Daejon and Sejong in South Korea stretches for 20 miles (32 km), and it not only shields cyclists from the sun but also generates power at the same time. The road provides more than enough electricity to power the highway’s lighting system, as well as charging points for electric cars.

  1. Solar Bins

    Solar bins made by the company ‘Bigbelly’ have solar panels on the top and an automatic trash compactor inside. They hold five times more waste than a regular street bin. Amazingly, when the bin is full it transmits a wireless signal to the refuse collectors, telling them it’s time to make a pick-up which has saved many cities, like Philadelphia, money.
  2. Solar Planes

Covered with 17,000 solar cells on its wings, the Solar Impulse 2 is powered by solar energy. It weighs 2.3 tonnes which is about the same as a standard family car and also has the same wingspan as a Boeing 747 Jumbo Jet. It flew a massive 40,000 kilometres without fuel. The motive behind the project is to get people to understand the incredible potential of solar technology and to inspire them to adopt clean technologies in their lives.

  1. Solar Windows 

    A team of scientists at Michigan State University were inspired by skyscrapers to consider the untapped potential of solar on buildings. Their idea is to turn the towers of windows into vertical solar farms. The new solar window technology leaves the glass clear while blocking the UV and infrared radiation (along with unwanted heat) that usually leak through it.

  2. Solar Tents 

    The US Army has taken a lead in the development of solar tents for its military personnel. The tents stand to be extremely useful in parts of the world where the sun doesn’t set until late in the evening. The shelters will be capable of powering communications devices as well as laptops and other electronic equipment, rendering ground units practically self-sufficient. The capacity of the tents will range from 800 watts to 3KW.

The potential for Solar Energy is limitless as demonstrated by the highlighted projects. In the future, we should expect to see even more ways in which the technology is breaking barriers and engineering solutions to some of our biggest challenges.  Know about other interesting solar projects? Please drop a comment below.

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