V3Solar’s Spinning Cone-Shaped Solar Cells Generate 20 Times More Electricity Than Flat Photovoltaics
If there’s one constant among the vast majority of solar panel designs, it’s flatness; while solar panels can be equipped to tilt to follow the sun’s path through the course of the day, there are still significant efficiency limitations to this basic design. V3Solar’s rather elegant photovoltaic Spin Cell cones aim to address that, and as Gizmag reports, their current prototype was recently third-party verified as capable of generating “over 20 times more electricity than a static flat panel with the same area of photovoltaic cells.”
The one meter-diameter cones feature a layer of hundreds of triangular photovoltaic cells positioned at an angle of 56 degrees, encased in a “static hermetically-sealed outer lens concentrator.” The photovoltaic cone spins with the assistance of a “small amount” of its own solar-generated power which feeds a Maglev system, intended to reduce the noise generated by the cones as well as any required maintenance.
While an “array” of V3′s Spin Cell’s can occupy a very small space, relative to conventional flat panels, V3 has also conceived of a “Power Pole,” to support even greater even solar power generation in a small space, the designers explain “This is a pole that holds 10 Spin Cells, or 10KWp, in a footprint of 10 SF. The spin cells are placed with mathematical precision to make sure no Spin Cell shades another. This not only creates significantly great power density, but also removes the concern of floods and mitigates the environmental impact.”
Additionally, V3 hopes that with the dramatically reduced physical footprint of the solar cones, theymight be able to “dramatically reduce the [total cost of ownership of solar farms] making more projects economically viable.” See one of the Spin Cones in action here.
Revolutionary Sphelar Spherical Solar Cells Capture Sunlight From All Directions
Japanese company Kyosemi has developed a revolutionary spherical micro solar cell that is capable of capturing sunlight from all directions. Called the Sphelar, the cell shuns the traditional flat substrate photovoltaic design and opts for much more efficient shape – the sphere. While traditional flat solar cells are easy to design and produce, their main problem is that their efficiency relies on their relative position to the sun. While some companies have addressed this with motorized frames that follow the sun’s path, Kyosemi has gone for a completely new approach that doesn’t need costly motors to work.
Their innovative new Sphelar® is a matrix of tiny, spherical solar cells that are designed to absorb sunlight at any angle. This means not only more efficient energy production, but less power needed for motorization of solar cell frames. The design and geometry of Sphelar cells means that by harnessing reflected and indirect light, energy conversion is close to 20% efficiency – a target far beyond most flat photovoltaic technologies. Its design also makes Sphelar appropriate for applications at a variety of scales, including mobile electronic devices.
With innovation like this, it is no surprise that Japan is leading the world in solar power technology.