Simple Form of Solar Panel




Introduction: Simple Form of Solar Panel

the solar panel i am presenting here was patented by Nikola Tesla in 1901, and really only consits of a few parts, the panel, the capacitor and the switched load.
the idea came from an older copy of wikipedia's "Photoelectric effect" article (most images from wikipedia pages).

at this point its just an idea, so dont be critical as i havnt built it. but for those considering building, it should be constructable from household bits.

Step 1: Photoelectric Effect

The photoelectric effect occurs when short wavelength electromagnetic radiation (commonly known as visible light and UV light) strikes a surface causing elecrons to be emitted, making the surface positively charged.
according to the patent (i mean wikipedia reference), the surface struck is covered with an insulator (i would suggest black electrical tape) and is shiny or polished. it shouldnt be a perfect insulator, maybe megaohmic.

the metal beneath the insulator replenishes the lost electrons in the insulator and grows positively charged.

Step 2: Capacitors

as seen on the intro page, it has a capacitor, i would suggest the simple Leyden Jar as a good one, though i highly reccommend caution as these can store high voltages and i reccomend research before using one.  if enough used it can be lethal. My tip would be to have a significant load on  so it cant go so high or clearly mark High voltage and exercise caution.

they can be constructed by a layer of alum foil lining the inside and outside. a self charging one could be made with salt water on the inside (charged by shaking).

if you want to use electrolytics then remember the solar panel side is positive charged, the electrons are attracted from the earth connection to fill the negative side, i dont know if that would allow low volts/high current.

Step 3: Load

the patent suggests a motor but it shouldnt be limited to this however its recommended that something that uses high voltage is connected (low amps), the motor needs many turns of wire. you could try other loads of course. because of the low amps try to minimise the contact to the positive pole of cap (panel supports etc) else it will discharge through your supports.

supporting the plate on top of the jar could be ideal, as shown, or you can  be adventurous and design more compact designs. like another insulator under the top plate (no light to go on that one) with another plate under that for the capacitor. possible water cooling but that could hinder electron emission as the old valves needed a heater to emit the electrons.

i hope you enjoyed it, as i said its an idea, perhaps the cheapest solar panel with the most output that you can get.

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    5 years ago

    I'm no Bofin but I've often wondered if a pair of CD disks could be used as a Capacitor. The seem to have all the components. Metal film separated by a dialectic. A Stack of them would hold one hell of a charge if it works.


    7 years ago

    A megaohmic polished insulator. That would be a sheet of glass. With a layer of metal on one side say silver, that's a mirror. I must be missing something as if that is all it takes to build a solar cell every mirror in yhe eorld could be generating electricity


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Glass is perhaps very megaohmic but may work (the whole panel would reduce the total ohms). Since writing this i had investigated into black body radiation, and a shiny surface (eg, glass) will only refect infrared light rather than radiate its own, so a matte surface may need to be tested. Most glass absorbs UVB, but the sun's light is predominantly Infrared - this is why the materials used in solar panels are similar to those used in infrared LEDs. Photo electrons are really only produced when a specific wavelength of light is absorbed - and is the same as the light made if it were incinerated, copper is green for example. so you might have the most success with titanium. I had also said "see wikipedia", i had noted shortly after posting this, the page was "revamped", (This document was referring to the AUG '10 page). The guy who patented the SuperSoaker water gun was working on an invention that worked on principals similar to this.