Paul van Gerven
24 November 2020

Researchers of Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) envision solar cells that not only generate electricity but also process information. Equipped with built-in intelligence, energy storage capacity and (wireless) communication, the traditionally ‘passive’ devices will be able to maximize the benefit of solar energy in urban environments, the researchers argue. In a recent publication, they introduced this new, multidisciplinary field of research as “photovoltatronics.”

Credit: Delft University of Technology

The need for smarter PV systems stems from the fact that renewable energy sources and energy storage and power electronics components are based on direct current (DC), whereas today’s electrical energy systems are based on alternating current (AC). Large-scale deployment of renewable energy will therefore lead to a complex hybrid AC/DC power system, which requires information and communication technology to be kept stable.