Can We Power Everything With Solar Panels?

Can We Power Everything With Solar Panels?

It’s 2015, I always thought the world look
like the jetsons right now with flying cars and clean energy? While we’re still waiting
on a flying car, clean energy, especially solar, has come a long away. Hey guys Julia here for DNews We’ve talked about solar power here on DNews
before a lot. To see how solar power works check out this episode right here. But just
a quick recap, solar panels are made of photovoltaic cells. These cells convert sunlight into energy
by using photons from the sun to knock loose electrons. These cells are typically made
up of a silicon wafer sandwich. One wafer is positively charged, the other negative,
this creates an electric field. Phosphorus is added to top the layer to increase the
amount of electrons there and boron makes the bottom more positive. Photons from the
sun knock an electron out of that electrical field and then the cell has some other parts
that use that electron as energy. That’s the basics. Solar panels aren’t
a new technology, they’ve been around for over a hundred years. The first “solar cell”
was patented in 1888. But since then, it’s kind of been slow going. Almost 90 years later
RCA Laboratories come out with the silicon version of a solar cell… but it only had
an efficiency of 1.1% Basically that means for the amount of energy going into a solar
cell from the sun, only 1.1% of that is converted into usable electricity. And research into solar technology is like
I said, slow going. One researcher said gains of 0.2 percent are the norm and gains of 1
percent are seen as significant breakthroughs. Since the 70s efficiency has only increased
from 1.1% to around 20% for most conventional models. In comparison traditional forms of
electricity from fossil fuels are only at about 40% efficient. But even the US Government wants to do better.
Over a decade ago the DARPA initiative put out a request for 50% efficiency in solar
panels. So far, research has come close. In 2007 researchers from the University of Delaware
announced they created a cell with 42.8 percent efficiency up from 40%, which in this field
was a huge deal. Their solar panel gained in efficiency by separating sunlight into
three different energy bins of high, medium and low, and directs them onto cells of various
light-sensitive materials to cover the solar spectrum. And in late 2014 Australian researchers
announce a 40% efficient panel in the journal Progress in Photovoltaics. It boosted efficiency
by including another filter to capture more bandwidths of light that are usually wasted
by other models. But it’s still not the typical model you’d see on homes. Most conventional
panels only reach an efficiency of about 20%. But maybe the future doesn’t even lie with
silicon. Research into a different material called perovskite has taken off over the past
few years. Perovskite is a naturally occurring mineral with a crystalline structure made
out of calcium and titanium. But it’s really easy to synthesize in a lab out of a organic-inorganic
hybrid of lead or tin halide that’s mixed with organic groups like methylammonium. The crystalline structure makes it especially
good for solar applications. But one of the most exciting things about this new type of
solar cell is how far it’s come in such a short time. Perovskite research seems to
be moving at very brisk pace compared to silicon. In only six years it jumped from 3.8% efficiency
in 2009 to a certified 20.1% in 2015, which is on par with conventional silicon panels.
So maybe they could reach DARPA’s goal in no time. One materials scientist I spoke with,
Daniel Dryden said “their insane rate of improvement is definitely worth paying attention
to as more than just the newest fad.”. While perovskite panels aren’t on the market
yet, some start ups promise they’ll have some ready to go by 2017. So it’s definitely
something to keep an eye on. One of the other great features of perovskite
that gets researchers excited is how cheap it is to make. Which could benefit those in
rural areas without access to traditional electricity. Be sure to check out our other episode on
Seeker Stories, where we discovered how constant blackouts and a lack of electricity in general
impacts daily life in Tanzania. To learn more about energy poverty, visit

100 thoughts on “Can We Power Everything With Solar Panels?

  1. Perhaps africa could leapfrog past fossil fuel energy before they even build the infrastructure for it. That would be a win win for africa and the world.

  2. question for you why need cars to have computers engine management and other stuff in the old days it just have a carburetor

  3. Everything could eventually be powered by solar panels but it wouldn't be smart because solar energy eventually dissipates as heat into the atmosphere. Photosynthetic trees and plants are a more effective cooling system because they absorb and store sunlight, which prevents it from heating up the ground under it in the first place. The stored energy is then released in fall and spring when fallen leaves compost.

    Solar energy can be used for everything, but everything currently running on electrical power is already too much. Even if CO2 levels can be reversed to blanket less heat, additional heat in the atmosphere from any source dries the air and prevents it from condensing and precipitating. For adequate rainfall, reforestation combined with reduced energy consumption is needed to cool down hot areas and revitalize the water cycle.

  4. Solar will always be government funded fad. It may help with peak daytime power demands but it's too limited by local climate conditions.

  5. She did not answer, however the answer is most likely yes, to bridge it to full yes we need batteries. It's on it's way, and only thing stopping the acceleration is OPEC and people spreading old and long disproven BS

  6. Holy shit women, Just Say Yes! we can power everything with solar energy, or No! we can't power everything with solar energy, No need for the shitload of talk 🙂

  7. I like the way you say "Only improved from 1% efficiency to 20%" like it's barely worth mentioning… that's a 2000% (20x) improvement!!

  8. you could probably replace your home lighting with LEDs on a closed DC system connected to a battery (charged by solar panels) for just a couple hundred dollars (you loose allot of efficiency in AC LED lightbulbs by converting the high voltage AC to low voltage DC so you might aswell just use a DC system for both simplicity and efficiency)

  9. About time. We've literally spend a half century of solar power history with literally no improvements being made anywhere at all with traditional solar power.

    Was somebody absent from work, what the Hell? Did the conservative party screw with solar power innovation the same way as Detroit? In the world's of alternative energy, solar must've been for a while basically the equivalent of Detroit.

  10. עלהע השמ, עדן עלמ, אני אם הסמס שלי עור ברוץ ל כל יצרה, ו לתזונה ו להנות כל ל הגג תוב… כל אהב הסמס! שלומתאו… עלהע עבור אישופּ אנרגיה

  11. I am offering Free (No Obligation) Solar Savings Assessments to all Homeowners. I am also giving away Vacation Certificates for 3 Days and 2 Nights at a Resort of your choice along with a $1000 Grocery Savings Certificate to anyone interested in learning how much you could be saving by switching to Solar. Our company offers $0 Down Loans and with us you own instead of leasing. Call 1-888-581-5549 for more info.

  12. Solar and wind is now powering at increasing rates our houses, our vehicles, our industries. New wind is 2.5 cents and new US solar is 5 cents a kilowatt hour. Plug in our vehicles and save $1,500 a year by eliminating buying tanks of gasoline. Max out building insulation and then install roof top solar. I recommend SunPower with highest efficiency and cradle to cradle certified materials for clean disassembly and remanufacturing.

  13. Solar is still not economical when you take into account the total cost verses the years of life those panels have. Unless you can put up enough panels such that you can sell electricity back to the electrical grid, you will have gained nothing by putting up solar panels. If your idea is solely based on your need or want to get off the grid, then solar does have merit. but, for the average home owner it just does not pay. In Southern California in San Diego they have limited us to put up panels only sufficient enough to power our home so they do not have to buy back any excess you may generate, thus making it almost impossible to afford.

    They are going to have to come way down in price for us to be able to afford powering our homes. The panels must also last longer than twenty years which is about the payback limit on your borrowing to purchase the system. If you want to cut down on your use of electricity try replacing all the light bulbs in your home with LED lights. The total cost of replacement will allow a substantial savings over the life of the LED lights, which last for thousands of hours. We have replace all the bulbs in our home and have attained reasonable savings noticeable on the monthly bill which I track every month in Excel.

  14. build your own solar panel system… check out… Why pay thousands of dollars for solar energy ($27,000 average cost) when you can build your own solar panel system for just a fraction of the retail cost.

  15. Solar industry best estimates are by the year 2050 they might be able to supply the world with 15% of the electricity. So where are we going to get the other 85%? Other renewables maybe 5% so the rest will have to come from nuclear and fossil fuels.

  16. The failure and pending closure of Ivanpah should warn us to slow down.
    Also this isn't the first design to have promise, manufacture-ability has held down good designs in the past.

  17. I really hope flying cars will never exist. just please go back to the 1930-1970 era when cars were real instead of plastic hybrids

  18. World energy consumption (ca.)
    80 % – Coal, gas and oil
    10% – Renewable
    10% – Nuclear

    Coal, oil and gas: Bad for the environment.
    Renewable: Good for the environment, but can not meet energy demand.
    Nuclear: Co2 neutral, can meet world energy demand. (But has a bad reputation)

    We have been trying to make renewable energy effective enough for many years but not seeing adequate progress. Meanwhile were using "dirty" energy to meet 80% of our demand. How environmentally just is that? We need to take use of modern nuclear power before it is to late.

    Google it people, it might just change your mind.
    It certainly changed mine.

  19. At :30, you say photovoltaic panels convert sunlight to energy. Sunlight is energy. They convert it into electricity.

  20. set up a pipeline to run sea water to hottest poverty n drought places,let the sun heat flat thin tanks set up like umbrellas to capture heat and block sun for the people, steam pipes out, spins turbines. free energy, free fresh water, stupidly simple and easier to do than oil pipelines. even if it didnt fix everything, they now have something better than they did before. but we dont really care about groups that arent our own so why help if our greed isnt given reward? besides, the world needs less people not more, so it makes more sense to keep 3worlds as 3rd worlds to act as deathzones to decrease population. plus they all have aids, do you really wanna give them more resources to make more aids babies?

  21. No, we cannot power very much with solar panels, even with 100% efficient panels. This technology has serious flaws.

  22. This is the rare case where a video that uses a question as a title should be answering with a simple "yes". In the long term, everything is already solar powered. It is just that the solar energy got stored by some natural system such as the creation of oil. We can do what the natural system did.

  23. if u use solar to power a low voltage motor to turn a generator like water wheel generator u can power who building free 24/7 power so yes u can the generators can even power u drills welding ect… too

  24. 1945: i bet we`ll have flying cars in the future
    2017 pornhub title: Cute little baby gets microwawed and fucked

  25. why to give technologies worth 10000 of years away for free to africa or asia? they must develop themselves

  26. I would uѕе it tо ассеѕѕ mу fооd ѕtоrаgе in a grid dоwn situation [ Check Details here === ]. Cоnѕidеring thаt it iѕ important to hidе food, ассеѕѕing it аt night аnd trying tо read lаbеlѕ оn buсkеtѕ, this аmаzing light wоuld really bе hеlрful.

  27. The problem is…the most potent renevable energy source are in west of USA when the biggest energy demand is in the est – the place with tornados and hurricanes :

  28. I hаvе hаd оnе sitting оn thе dash оf mу Tоуоtа fоr a соuрlе оf уеаrѕ, and it keeps wоrking [ Check Details here === ]. I’m ѕurе I will nееd tо rерlасе it ѕоmеdау, but I juѕt сhесk it аbоut оnсе a month, and put it bасk. Uѕе it when I nееd to. Wоrkѕ great!

  29. Regarding flying cars, we do have them. They're just not designed to look like cars because we would need unthinkable amounts of power and noise to run them. These flying cars, often called "Helicopters" are used by thousands of people every day.

    The problem with them, however, is that they are expensive, consume more fuel than regular cars, CANNOT BE MADE TO OPERATE OFF BATTERY POWER FOR EXTENDED PERIODS and in general are excessively loud. They are also moderately dangerous and parking them is a serious problem.

    The thing is, for some very good reasons, the helicopter has not had a "Model T." There has been no industrial-scale production of cheap helicopters for the working class, and there is no infrastructure to support helicopter commute by the masses. It's also not exactly green to be burning gas or jet fuel or even methane in your chopper commute, and would further exacerbate noise pollution.

    Not to mention idiots would run these giant tanks of fuel and whirling blades into cliff-sides and buildings.

  30. The fact that no one responsible for this video was scientifically literate enough to stop this chick from calling silicon "silicone" is telling. Great work Discovery.

  31. how are the going to be recykelt ? ore are we going to do the same thing again by not maken that a obligated thing for seling it.

  32. can you anser this qwestion mabey, are solerpannels stil juse bol avter 25 year ? (stil aver that the need to be recykelt as wel …. )

  33. Can we power my little guy's nite light with solar panels, nope.

    I care about the cost per watt of solar panels, whether they inefficiently "waste" sunlight does not matter to me at all, and they can never exceed 60%. I'd pay extra for a 30 year guarantee.

  34. Great place to learn how to make it yourself much much cheaper. Just google for 'Avasva' website:)

  35. Simple answer, yes, we can and will power everything with solar and wind, one day. I work in the utility renewable energy industry and know that solar and wind are capturing virtually every new utility new capacity contract, with nat. gas acting as peaker and back-up plants. Neither coal nor nuclear win any new contracts, they're dead technologies.

  36. Not certain about the points made but ,if anyone else trying to find out use of solar energy for home try Ewans energy roadmap (should be on google have a look ) ? Ive heard some interesting things about it and my partner got amazing success with it.

  37. the article diverts significantly from the youtube "title" question, into one of efficiency. Which, is only ONE slice of the whole picture. The 15% efficient panels are extremely cost effective and can do lots of real work today, from charging our electric cars, or anything else in the house.

  38. 99.99% of 'pro-solar" are IDIOTS who do not live off grid with solar…. I do live full time on solar and I know how CRAPPY it is…

  39. I power everything with my panels. How much more efficient can it get. Other than the flying car the clean energy is already here.

  40. Western countries are not blessed by sun light …so they will always it's not that useful ….. propaganda of wester countries to stop countries like Brazil India Africa from usil solar electricity ..else they will be rich ..

  41. Great stuff! Nice work. The public really needs to see more of this. Have you heard anything about a new system called Optimal Future Energy Deployment ( )? I’ve heard some interesting things about it and my brother got some amazing results. I’ve also been searching for solutions to the problem of wind turbines killing birds and bats. Ultrasonic acoustics looks like a possible answer to saving bats, but I haven’t read anything lately about the best way to keep birds away from wind turbines. Have you heard anything?

  42. Doesn't pay to install solar or foam insulation unless you know you'll be in the house for at least 20 years ( ). Even without purchasing these items, in a normal housing market (not SF,NYC), it takes 5 years to break even due to when you sell, you need to pay realtor fees, moving fee, fees on the loan, etc. so if you can't be in the house for 5 years,

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