Would it be efficient to run a solar panel with laser? I know this question is unsual as we are using electricity powered laser to run a solar panel. Actually i am paricipating in the Google Science Fair so i need a answer and my idea is not this for the fair. Thanks and hoping for a good answer. If yes how much watts of laser would i need to run a 10w solar panel (I know we need multiple laser as it focuses only on one point).

(It would be good if someone is giving a mathematical notion but they may write that in words also so that i can understand better)

Thanks hoping for a good and polite answer.

  • $\begingroup$ It depends on the efficiency of the panel (usually 10-15%) and how attuned the panel is to the wavelength of the laser. Since panels tend to be dark purple or blue, I'm thinking a green or red laser would absorb best. But the short answer is no. You'd be better off using the laser to boil water and run a steam engine.... $\endgroup$ – Jiminion Apr 20 '15 at 12:55
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    $\begingroup$ You can't use a laser to produce more power than it takes to run the laser. Unless you have a 100% efficient generator, you also can't use it to produce the same amount of power needed to run the laser. So no matter what, any power you generate is going to be less than or equal to the power you use to generate it. Effectively, you have a power drain that does nothing $\endgroup$ – Jim Apr 20 '15 at 12:58
  • $\begingroup$ @ACuriousJim I know that its poorly efficient but thats not my idea my idea is something else but for that to happen i need a baseline information so this question was just for the info $\endgroup$ – Bhavesh Apr 21 '15 at 2:35

A laser is just a thin slice from the spectrum of light.

Is it more efficient compared to the visible spectrum of light? It depends on the frequency of the laser and how efficiently the solar panel can turn light of that frequency into electrical energy.

If a solar panel would operate better/best with light of a certain frequency, using a laser with that frequency would certainly make the solar panel operate more efficiently. (if the efficiency depends on the frequency of light and has a maximum, then yes, applying only light of that frequency will be more efficient)

However generating a laser beam is not very efficient (some people consider lasers to be very posh heating devices), which renders the entire "laser powered solar panels"-idea rather useless.

  • $\begingroup$ Unless, of course, you want to run power to a device without using wires, such as instrumentation sitting at an elevated potential. Power over fiber is not totally unusual. But also not very efficient as you say... $\endgroup$ – Jon Custer Apr 20 '15 at 13:20
  • $\begingroup$ so if i point out the right frequency of laser on my solar panel would it burn by solar panel? $\endgroup$ – Bhavesh Apr 21 '15 at 2:31
  • $\begingroup$ @Bhavesh I'm not exactly sure what you mean by "burn", I assume you mean to destroy it. The answer here is no, because what destroys the solar panel would be the energy per surface area, not just the frequency. $\endgroup$ – Name Apr 22 '15 at 15:19
  • $\begingroup$ Solar cells can have monochromatic efficiencies approaching 80%. Look into power over fibre. $\endgroup$ – boyfarrell Apr 27 '16 at 18:23

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