Solar Miracles: 5 Amazing Ways of Using Photovoltaic Panels

Since solar energy is on the rise, innovations in this area are becoming more and more extraordinary. IB Centre has prepared an interesting selected of the most unexpected ways of using solar panels.

“Smart” bike lane in Germany

At the end of 2018, a bike lane from solar panels was constructed near the city of Cologne, Germany. One square meter of it can generate 100 kW-h of electricity per year, which is enough to meet the needs of three or four average German families. This electricity can also be used to illuminate the lane itself at night as well as to heat it in winter.


This 90-meter “smart” bike lane is made of glass tiles encasing heating elements, motion sensors and solar panels. The Germans call this renewable energy project “90 meters of the future,” putting hopes on it.

“Chameleon” solar power plant on a Danish school

The new campus of Copenhagen International School features an impressive solar façade.

The electricity generated by these 12,000 solar panels can satisfy more than half of the school’s annual energy needs. These amazing panels can change their color, depending on illumination and visual angle. The school students will study solar energy generation by monitoring their own solar power plant.


The unique sea-green hues of the panels was created by Swiss scientists at the research institute Ecole Polytechnique Federale in Lausanne (EPFL) after more than a decade of development. By using the process of light interference, the researchers achieved the tiles’ distinctive color without any pigments and without reducing energy efficiency.

Solar ships

Use of solar energy in the marine world has contributed to the development of innovative solar-powered ships.

Turanor Planet Solar vessel made a successful 18-month trip around the globe in 2012 and became the largest solar-powered boat in the world. Designed in Switzerland, this catamaran-style vessel costed USD 26 mln. This amazing boat was powered by 537 square meters of photovoltaic panels.


Peace Boat Company has recently introduced an innovate vessel, Ecoship, which is to float off in 2020. The project’s main task is to reduce fuel consumption by 20%, and reduce carbon dioxide emissions and waste water.

This fantastic liner, accommodating 2,000 passengers, will be powered by 10 retractable wind turbines and 10 retractable PV sails. Its hybrid engine will allow the vessel to use both natural gas and diesel. 


Thus, electricity consumption is expected to be reduced by 50%. In addition, it is planned to build aboard several gardens with live plants that will absorb excess liquid and convert carbon dioxide into oxygen.

Greeting to the Sun, an amazing dance floor in Croatia

Greeting to the Sun is a Croatian architect Nikola Baic’s impressive LED light installation .The circular dance floor consists of three hundred multilayered glass plates encasing solar cells that absorb sunlight during the day to create a spectacular light show at night. This unique creation is situated in the coastal town of Zadar, Croatia.

Both photos:

The light effects on the 22-meter diameter disc’s surface create the colorful, geometric patterns that sweep through the energy efficient panels. In addition, the Greeting to the Sun installation can provide a sufficient supply of electricity to light the entire waterfront for a third of the cost.

On the wings of the Sun: planes of the future

As there exist some “solar” ships, it’s high time to switch to “solar” planes!

A few years ago Solar Impulse 2 aircraft made a true technological breakthrough for all humankind. This solar-powered plane aircraft on solar panels successfully completed a 16-month round-the-world flight.


Solar Impulse 2 is a single-seated airplane that has a 72m wingspan, with is slightly wider than a wingspan of Airbus A380’s, the world’s largest aerial vehicle, and weights just 2.3 tons. It carries 17,000 solar cells on its fuselage, which rotate the aircraft’s propellers and engines during the day, and charge the plane’s batteries to be used at night.

About 80 different companies, including Google and Omega, a famous Swiss watch manufacturer, were sponsors of the project.



Time Magazine



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