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Not Your Dad’s Solar: Solar Balloons Could Produce Electricity 24 Hours A Day

solarcloudsEveryone knows that renewable energy is winning the race to produce the electricity of the future, some people still have doubts about their ability to handle all our current energy needs, particularly because of the intermittent nature of wind and sun.

Now a team of researchers at NextPV may have figured out a way to get around that little problem.

The NextPV system uses solar panels and hydrogen fuel cells to keep the juice flowing day and night, attached to solar balloons that float above the cloud line, giving them the most direct access to sunlight.

The solar balloon is still a concept at this point, but NextPV plans to produce a working prototype in the next two years, at which point a whole other set of challenges will likely surface, such as the issue of needing extremely long tethers and cables connecting the balloons with the ground, and trying to compete with standard PV prices, which continue to drop year after year.

You can read more about solar balloons on Treehugger here.