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Source: Pixabay

Butterfly Wings Could Be Key To Solar Panels Absorbing More Light

By Brian Spaen

Solar panel technology has plenty of room for improvement, especially in the efficiency category. While they're fantastic in terms of green energy, they can definitely be more efficient when it comes to how much light they absorb, and how long they hold onto that energy. We’ve seen them becoming more adaptive to the environment, such as thin-film solar cells, but that hasn't been without setback. Interestingly, butterfly wing-inspired design could provide the best way yet to generate solar power via panels. 

Researchers from the California Institute of Technology and the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology have looking into how to improve thin solar cells. While efficiency has been sacrificed, they have benefits in all the other categories when compared to traditional solar cells. They have the ability to adapt onto any surface, they’re lighter, and often cheaper to produce.

Inspiration for a butterfly model came from the rose butterfly often found in India. Its black wings have the ability to warm itself in colder areas. Looking at the insect further, they discovered that the wings had little holes. This made the wings lighter for the insect and sunlight was able to be absorbed quicker since it was scattered through the holes.