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New solar panels can thermoelectrically collect energy at night

Engineers at Stanford University have invented a new type of solar cell that collects energy at night. The device works by incorporating a thermoelectric generator. That tiny generator is able to create electricity from the temperature difference between the solar cell and the ambient air.

This means that future solar installations could create renewable power around the clock, not just during daylight hours. That makes it much more convenient because a secondary power source or battery does not need to be secured for nighttime power needs.

One application that could come in handy out here in West Texas and eastern New Mexico is the mini-grid. A mini-grid is an independent electricity network that can be set up to serve a small population or one far away from the existing power grid. The new technology could also be used to let individuals live independent from the grid.

Ultimately, this new technology could make solar more useful, both as a low-pollution source of energy and as a strategy for energy independence.

Solar power companies may begin contacting landowners to buy or lease land

Texas and New Mexico are both already very popular among solar power companies. Both have ample access to sun and laws that are friendly to innovation.

What solar energy companies need is land to scale up their operations. This new technology may make it possible to locate new solar energy installations far from the traditional power grid.

In many cases, these companies have been given the power of eminent domain. That means that, as long as they’re doing it for a public project, they can force landowners to sell or lease their land.

Often, these companies throw a barbecue for local landowners to give out information and get the process of acquiring the land started. If you attend an event like this, or answer your door to a company representative, you may receive an offer.

Even if it seems like a good offer, get it checked out by an energy law attorney. Get it reviewed even if your neighbors have already signed on the dotted line. You have the right to just, fair compensation for your land, whether it’s being purchased or leased. An energy lawyer can help ensure you get that and that the terms are fair.