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A well rounded solar array

Barcelona architect André Brössel did not like flat panels, so he came up with solar generators that open up new possibilities in building-integrated photovoltaics and power plant design.

 - Flat panels are for squares. André Broessel and his colleagues have come up with a well-rounded solution to those boring planar modules.
Flat panels are for squares. André Broessel and his colleagues have come up with a well-rounded solution to those boring planar modules.

From the roof of André Broessel’s Barcelona office a good marksman could shoot a bottle off of the roof of Gaudi’s Casa Milà. Looking at that six-storey structure, it seems Gaudi was incapable of drawing a straight line or flat surface. Perhaps that is why Broessel cannot countenance a flat solar panel.

Broessel suggested to his team that they come up with a way to combine innovative design with photovoltaic power generation. The result was a patented system consisting of a glass sphere which acts as a lens to collect sunlight and bundle it onto a narrow strip of semiconductor. “A key factor in the efficiency of photovoltaic systems is a 90 degree angle of incidence to the semiconductor. This limits the potential of roof systems because the cost of tracking technology is immense. In addition, there are loading problems due to wind and snow.”

Always at a right angle to the sun

Broessel’s team analyzed different ways of keeping a semiconductor or thermal absorber at a constant right angle to the sun. A sphere solves this geometrical problem because it is an optical tracker that works without a module mounting or drive. In addition, a sphere concentrates sunlight to produce efficient solar power or heat. The simplest optical system offered by Rawlemon promises a 30 to 40 percent increase in efficiency when mounted vertically.

Single axis tracker

To bundle solar energy even more, the Spanish designers developed a single axis tracker for which wind and snow loads are negligible. The system needs 18 percent fewer solar cells than traditional systems using crystalline solar modules. In addition, the spheres have 57 percent more aperture area than flat modules. The spheres’ flexible design can be freely configured.

(Heiko Schwarzburger/tph)

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2 Comments on "A well rounded solar array "

  1. zorich - 24.06.2013, 11:39 Uhr (Report comment)

    I offer to do the WATCH, which will show time a counting out the new thinking. More Progressive. Due to which scientist of the different countries will caught need global cooperation. These watch will show the point a counting out direct enormous scientific resource on more rational and harmonious development With nature. And not only specialist, but also each wordly man. Hybrid installation can be stationary, more economical and ecological. I offer to do the watch, which will go due to new mechanism. I have found its prototype but no facilities tax international demand. The Inventors of the Japanese companies is hidden for brend of the company. This it is correct in purpose of safety. I am an agree tax application for invention From any company, for instance releasing watch. But that she has taken me on work for time of the development of the new type Engine(microhybrid). Can emerge as private citizen or as member of the invention fund. There is several other inventions. It is Necessary overcome border of the self-destruction mankind.

  2. Graham Nicholls - 18.07.2011, 15:39 Uhr (Report comment)

    Sounds like a good idea, but I suspect they will be much more difficult to manufacture and therefore more expensive per kWh than flat panel. Are these approaching commercial release? If so, where can more information be found?

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