Solar power gets curtains twitching
Use your curtains to generate eco-power, says boffin
Given that curtains help us block light out, it seems sensible to use one side to suck up the sun’s rays. So a textiles boffin has developed "smart" drapes with integrated solar panels.
Sheila Kennedy, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has begun developing a thin-film photovoltaic fabric. Essentially, this material looks and behaves like cloth, but also works as a solar panel when exposed to light.
Power collected by the panels is stored in rechargeable battery packs sewn into the curtains' hems. The charge can then be moved into a larger battery, which acts as a central power source for individual homes.
Kennedy believes that so-called "solar textiles" could help people revolutionise the way electricity is generated and used. She also reckons that the photovoltaic ‘cells’ could be produced like rolls of newspaper – making cheap mass-production possible.
However, she admitted that the panels are less efficient than traditional glass-based solar panels.
As part of a research project into solar textiles, Kennedy has already developed a prototype solar-powered dwelling called Soft House. The home’s solar sucking curtains track the sun and generate up to 16,000Wh of electricity, which she claims is more than half the daily power requirement of an average American household.
Soooo, during the sunny days I close the curtains...
...which will make it dark inside. So I'll have to turn on the electric lights... ..which would waste power, were in not for my aolar panel wallpaper...
i always thought the curtains were drawn when the sun went down...
although probably a good idea for all the home growers that don't want busted for sucking down to much power and always have their curtains closed, perhaps we should suggest some heat sheilding in the lining??
Don't people close curtains when its night to keep some privacy. And open during the day to get the light in.
Power to the people.
"The home’s solar sucking curtains track the sun and generate up to 16,000Wh of electricity"
My hamster can generate 16kWh of electricityin its wheel. It just takes her rather a long spell of running to get there. I think power would be a better measurement than energy.