The new photovoltaic solar panel contributes to the purification of water via energy-efficient procedures.

FREMONT, CA: Solar panels are continually evolving with time. There are a number of applications that are benefitting directly or indirectly from solar panels. Although the major use cases of solar panels can be attributed to electricity and heat generation, there are various alternative use cases that are emerging with the evolution of solar panels. For instance, researchers have devised a method that utilizes solar energy to produce clean water.

The photovoltaic solar panels used for water distillation are the same that are used for many other solar applications. Around 10 percent of the sunlight entering the panels is spent in generating power for operational purposes. The system uses solar radiation to generate power, which releases a significant amount of heat as waste. The waste heat can be reused in the system, thereby enhancing efficiency.

The design of the solar panels used for clean water generation is unique and contributes to the efficiency of the system. The system consists of three photovoltaic panels that are stacked together. The heat produced by the first layer traverses through a membrane into the second and third distillation layer where it distills more water. 

The efficiency of such a system can be increased by as much as 385 percent. According to the researchers, the new solar panel design distills as much as three times the water as a traditional solar panel would do. Further, the system also produces electricity as a byproduct. Unfit water injected into the device comes out as safe for human consumption on all measurable standards. Moreover, the levels of copper, lead, calcium, and magnesium are well within the permissible limits.

The new means of water purification is promising as it utilizes solar energy. The use of renewable energy sources will allow the sustainable extraction of pure water in the future.

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