There is little doubt that solar energy (home solar panels in particular) has come a long way in the last 5-10 years. This modern method for powering our homes has gone from being incredibly expensive to being very practical for powering our homes, and in a short amount of time. In the past, if you experienced inclement weather for an extended period of time, whether it be excessive cloud cover or days of rain, it could spell disaster. Once your battery reserve was depleted, you were in the dark. For this reason, most people who chose to power their homes with solar panels needed a backup system. While it is true that the efficiency of these systems has vastly improved since their release, they are still not 100% effective. Very soon, this may not be the case.
Coming out of Qingdao China is a new solar panel that may be able to generate electricity with the help of water (in the form of rain). This is accomplished with a thin layer of graphene that coats the solar cell. This incredibly small layer allows electrons to move across the surface almost effortlessly. Why is this important? Because the graphene would bond its elections with positively charged ions found in the water molecules. When this happens, the water adheres to the graphene, effectively forming a dual layer on the surface of the panels. This dual layer is also known as a pseudo capacitor. The exciting part is when researchers discovered that the energy difference between these two layers is so strong that it generates electricity.