Soliant Energy Residential Solar Concentrators to bring down cost of Residential Solar
Soliant Energy of Monrovia, California is developing solar concentrator grids using perspex -- a form of plexiglas -- to allow homes to capture solar energy by concentrating sunlight onto photovoltaic (PV) devices. This is similar to PV devices found on large buildings, but unlike commercial models these residential solar concentrator grids will not have motors that track the sun and will be a fraction of the cost. The residential solar concentrator grids will have the ability to be mounted on roofs, walls or windows. Unlike simple solar panels, the ability of the grid to focus sunlight allows a single cell to reach 20 percent efficiency and potentially generate 200 watts per square meter.
The concentrators in the solar concentrator grid are funnel shaped, with an oval opening that admits the light to a PV device at the bottom of the reflective cone. Designed by Dr. Tapas Mallick of the University in Edinburgh, the Soliant Energy grids can be fitted to capture 75 percent of the sunlight falling on windows. Although it would make the room darker, the ratio can be adjusted as needed.
Mallick is experimenting with cheap polymers that could potentially capture heat directly from rooftop grids and further reduce the price of solar energy generation for residential customers.
Other technologies that are reducing the cost of solar:
One step process for photovoltaic cell production could make solar competitive
Solar panels that are just over a dollar now available
New Low Cost High Performing Solar Panel Technology; 98% Plastic & Catches 96% Incident Light
Ultra-Lightweight, Affordable Solar Panel Technology uses 1/100 of Silicon in Conventional Solar Cells