Here Comes the Sun. Rock Music Jumpstarts Solar Panels.

November 22, 2013

In your heart, you’ve always known this.


Ever notice how you feel more productive while listening to a great song? It’s not just you. Researchers just discovered that a certain type of solar panel works most efficiently when exposed to the acoustic vibrations of pop music. Crank it up!

The UK research team works on zinc oxide solar panels, a cheaper, more flexible variant of traditional silicon-based solar cells. Unfortunately, zinc oxide panels are still in the experimental stages, hampered by a paltry 1.2 percent efficiency at the moment. Zinc oxide’s trick, however, is that it can form nanoscale rods that generate electricity from outside vibrations—like, say, some pumped-up jams.

Having subjected the photovoltaics to a variety of musical genres, the team found that rock and pop boosted efficiency nearly 50%, likely due to the wide range of sound frequencies involved. Even ambient noise gave a decent increase. While an industrial-scale stereo playing Top 40 hits to a field of solar panels wouldn’t be very efficient, the discovery paves the way for cells that generate extra juice from the ambient vibrations in noisy environments. Someday, perhaps black metal could generate just as much power as a ray of sunshine. [Advanced Materials via New Scientist]


Wiley Online Library first broke the story: ”Acoustic vibrations are shown to enhance the photovoltaic efficiency of a P3HT/ZnO nanorod solar cell by up to 45%, correlated to a three-fold increase in charge carrier lifetime. This is assigned to the generation of piezoelectric dipoles in the ZnO nanorods, indicating that the efficiency of solar cells may be enhanced in the presence of ambient vibrations by the use of piezoelectric materials.”

Pop music is most effective in increasing this certain kind of energy with this type of solar panel. Sound vibrations form this music most increased energy absorption. No doubt this is relevant information that will be developed in the solar field.


3 Responses to “Here Comes the Sun. Rock Music Jumpstarts Solar Panels.”

  1. kingdube Says:

    Solar Panels:

    “It feels like years since it was clear…”

    OK, it cannot help at night, it cannot help much at all through the winter…but it may be able to help a little,
    and it sure as hell has no influence on global climate!

    • MorinMoss Says:

      “it cannot help much at all through the winter”

      Winter isn’t the same in every country and more than 40% of the world’s population, about 2.8 billion people, live in the region between the Tropic of Cancer & the Tropic of Capricorn.

      There’s serious potential for solar panels to help a hell of a lot more than just a little.

  2. […] More about that coal fire issue regarding energy and music:  Rock Music and Solar Panels –pop rock music makes them work ‘better’–who knew? […]

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