How Can Solar Panels Be Made More Efficient?

Posted: Sep 12 2015, 8:59pm CDT | by , in News | Latest Science News


How Solar Panels Can Be Made More Efficient?

The unique Kirigami technique can help capture more sunlight as it enables solar panel cells to track the sun throughout the day.

Solar panels are specifically designed to absorb the rays of the sun and to convert it into a source of energy. 

But scientists have found a new way to make solar panels more efficient. They have incorporated a new technique called into the solar panel cells, called Kirigami. Kirigami is a variation of Origami, the Japanese art of paper cutting, through which solar cells are cut and folded in such a way that they can move easily, track sun path and absorb more sun rays.

By using Kirigami technique, the panels will track sun across the sky and will capture more energy than conventional trackers. This unique design will increase solar panels efficiency up to 36%.

Conventional panels are complex and often require heavy and costly motors to support the whole the system. The conventional design reduces the efficiency of solar panels as they lay stationary on a flat surface and absorb only direct sunlight which happens only a small part of the day. 

Since the sun moves continuously, it was required to create a structure consisting of plastic strips crossed to make solar panel cells thin, light and flexible. So, it can follow the sun throughout the day.

Though the trackers that can move across the sky already exist but they were expensive and heavy that they are too often ignored.

“As a result, residential, pitched rooftop systems which account for 85% of installations, lack conventional options entirely,” study reads. “To further decrease installation costs and enable new applications, a novel approach to compact and lightweight solar tracking is required.”

The researchers from University of Michigan turn this novel approach into reality and cut the solar cells in a manner stretch and sync with the angle of sun.

It looks extremely simple because it is extremely simple — it’s just linear cuts,” said lead author of the study Aaron Lamoureux  “The other patterns we looked at were harder to make, and didn’t perform as well as far as tracking goes.”

“The amount of power you get out of a given solar cell is directly related to the area that the sun sees of that solar cell. The larger the affected area is, larger the amount of power you’re going to get.”

The study was published in Journal Nature Communiciations.

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The Author

Hira Bashir covers daily affairs around the world.




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