excerpt from exchange re: 3D-Printed Photovoltaic "concentrators" / by Cliff McCormick

cliffmccormick | February 16, 2015

Regardless the writing is on the wall.

And the more resistance (in places like Florida and Texas, that are being held up legislatively (oil money; purchased politicians; because it certainly isn't economics and public sentiment holding adoption of residential solar back) the more it will engender enthusiastic advocacy for COMPLETE grid independence; which is ultimately inevitable as well; to the great good of all.

One way or the other; as the great Sam Cooke once observed "change is gonna come"


You guys hear about the new 3d printed solar concentrating domes? Basically...instead of having a racking system that shifts the panels east/west to track the sun and raise total efficiency...they've found that you basically put a little dome over the solar cell and have it redirect incoming light at oblique angles...and for equal efficiency you'd have to move the panel something like a centimeter all day...but ever barring that movement....this recent advance alone is a HUGE boost, because this allows residential markets access to drastically improved efficiencies without needing to install much heavier moving "frames/racks"

Exciting times!!!

grega | February 16, 2015

Hadn't heard about that. Doubling solar efficiency is good, but I think adding moving parts will be an issue. Found the paper "Wide-angle planar microtracking for quasi-static microcell concentrating photovoltaics" 5 Feb 2015.

There's a good article at http://news.psu.edu/story/343520/2015/02/05/research/high-efficiency-concentrating-solar-cells-move-rooftop

cliffmccormick | February 16, 2015

Exactly! These new "domes/concentrators" remove the need for movement. It relies on natural properties of the propagation of light via "synthetic" medium "glass/silicate." A solution Einstein would almost certainly approve of, at least in that it is simple, ergo elegant; beautiful.

OR: don't move the panel; move the light.


little printed domes; instant upgrade. HA!

grega | February 16, 2015

Actually they do still move.
Essentially the little domes focus the light to a small point. A high quality solar cell then sits at that point and generates power. As the sun moves, the focal point moves, so the backing sheet of solar cells has to move slightly to stay in the focused sunlight. It has a lubricant in the sheet to ensure it moves smoothly.

It seems for now that this is most useful for smaller roofs that want more solar panels but can't fit them - this provides up to double the power. A great step forward but with a few catches.

cliffmccormick | February 17, 2015

HA! Thank you for the explanation; that makes perfect sense. The k-energy imparted to the "receptor cell" from incoming light will be sufficient to actually move it across a synthetic medium; "grease"; allowing optimal angular orientation of the "cell" with respect to the redirected light, "emitted" from the "lens" above. Allowing for optimal "input" more consistently.

Wonder if they've considered forgoing the motion; "locking" cell orientation and creating a "ring" cell; with tailored optimal surfaces/frequencies that light responds to? Curve the cell to accommodate the "arc of light."

Or so I freely speculate. *grin* HA!

Cheers grega!

cliffmccormick | February 17, 2015 new

Important considerations:

Presenting varying ratios of cells optimized in "polar" orientation with respect to the light spectrum; after traversing a bi-layer (ring) translucent cell (twice) considering it will refract off the curved- (hollow sphere)mirror situated at the bottom of the "cell well;" giving energy not caught on "pass one" the opportunity to be absorbed on the opposing sides of the "ring" it traversed on first entering the cell chamber.

Or some approximation thereof!?