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Earth-Based Solar Power Enhanced by “Crystal Ball”

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Solar Power Boasts Tiny Solar Panel and Big Increase in Efficiency
Solar Power Boasts Tiny Solar Panel and Big Increase in Efficiency

If you look into your crystal ball, you’ll note at least a few reasons why solar power isn’t taking over for fossil fuels in the numbers we’d like to see.

Part of the problem is that PV (photovoltaic) solar power simply isn’t that efficient. Tracking PV panels, that is, PV panels that tilt and rotate to track the sun, may have efficiency ratings topping out at 15%, and fixed PV panels are even worse, losing up to 60% of their efficiency thanks to Earth’s tilt and rotation. A German architect, currently located in Spain, may have come across a solution. Andre Broessel’s Rawlemon incorporates a dual-axis tracking system and a spherical lens, the “crystal ball,” to greatly increase the efficiency of a PV system.

The Rawlemon’s unusual spherical lens concentrates light by some 10,000 times. This means that, even though the PV panel has been reduced to just 1% of its original size, the Rawlemon can generate electricity more efficiently from sunlight, even on cloudy days, even in latitudes that aren’t traditionally considered to be particularly efficient solar power zones. The lens’ concentrating effects even work in moonlight, and the Rawlemon can generate electricity even at night, albeit at significantly reduced levels.

Overall, Broessel calculates that the combination of spherical lens and dual-axis tracking increases solar power output 70% over conventional PV systems, in spite of reducing the PV panel’s size so drastically. Considering that 1% of the PV solar cells can produce 70% more energy than 100% of a full traditional PV panel, this would result in a significant decrease in PV system costs, as well as enable greater adoption of solar power systems.

Image © Rawlemon

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3 COMMENTS

  1. Take a look at this new group dedicated
    to possibly the cleanest form of energy. They are looking for
    volunteers to help crowd-fund research and development of aneutronic
    fusion. If its successful it will replace nuclear fission and fossil
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  2. Though Commenter below identifies this as “solar art”, and not to be taken seriously, I offer a different point of view.  This, and other concepts, are great but should have been on the drawing board from the start.  Yes, it’s innovative, but only by comparisons to today’s overall unenthusiastic (actually woeful) solar attempts based on controlling factors.

    Psychologically, the world is in a fossil fuel quandary – that is that Fred Chase and J.D. literally became billionaires when gasoline was around 19 cents p/gal (and you could get your oil checked and windshield washed), and in today’s world there is still trillions to be made without changing anything.  “It would be easier to take the wet, from water. . . or the dry, from sand” (Smokey Robinson –  “What Love has Joined Together”), than to change the world’s collective mind about generating energy, hand-in-hand with the world’s “endless” supply of oil (and the trillions to be made).

    The world has been given the internal combustion, peanut oil burning diesel, artificial light virtually without heat, and the ability to transfer that light, without loss, through optical fiber.  Though the fossil fueled diesel has been universally pressed into place worldwide, it’s almost as if the concept of multiplying light (and saving energy along the way) is almost an extraterrestrial concept.

  3. I am sorry, while this is well meaning, it is basically junk science. Yes it works but the spherical geometry is even LESS efficient than other concentrators. It looks pretty but is at best solar art.

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