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After solar panels, now rain panels?

A team of researchers developed an alternative to the solar panel, which harvests energy from raindrops.

Water is already used in the energy transition to generate renewable energy, in the form of dams and wave energy. Raindrops, however, have not yet been used to generate energy, because the energy a single raindrop can generate, is incredibly small.

The team of researcher has now developed a way to use rain for energy, using a technique inspired by solar panels. Because multiple solar cells are combined, they generate a larger amount of energy.

When a raindrop falls on the panel, which is called the FEP surface, the drop is positively charged, and the surface negatively. This charge is so small, it usually evaporates quickly, but this is prevented by so-called bridge array generators, which can combine individual cells and collect the energy. The energy output is five times as high with the generators than without.

Despite the successful research, it will be a while before the rain panels will be produced on a large scale.