Every hour, the Earth is bathed in 430 quintillion Joules of energy from the sun. That is more than the amount of energy the whole of humanity consumes in a full year. These staggering figures show the true potential of solar energy for innovation. And the uses of sunshine go beyond solar farms and solar panels on domestic roofs.
Four of this month’s innovations use the sun as an energy source for applications as varied as urban mobility and water disinfection. A new tiny house achieves carbon neutrality through in-built solar panels, while an electric tuk-tuk can travel 10,000 kilometres per year on solar energy alone. Meanwhile, a cleantech startup has a bold vision to put super-efficient, digitally printed solar cells on every consumer device, and a social enterprise has developed a device that lets remote communities harness the UV rays in sunlight to disinfect drinking water.
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