Like all of us who listen to Spotify while we work, zinc oxide solar panels appear to get 50 percent more efficient when they’re played rock or pop music, according to one study from the U.K. Quit trying to make new solar solutions, boffins, and just crank up the HAIM!
The study found that all noise boosted performance on the zinc oxide panels, which isn’t hard — they usually rate a pathetic 1.2 percent efficiency and have nowhere to go but up. Rock and pop worked best, though, probably because they contain a wide range of frequencies.
Of course, that means the solar panels were only up to a whopping 1.8 percent efficiency — not very impressive. And unless you were going to hire a live band, you’d need some form of electricity to play the music at the panels in the first place. In other words, zinc oxide plus Lady Gaga is definitely not a coal-killer. Still, knowing about the effects of sound on solar efficiency might be useful for future designs. And it was probably a fun experiment to conduct — though not as fun as the time they did basically the same experiment with sea lions: