MIT researchers, led by Professor Jeffrey Grossman, have developed 3D solar towers with small solar panels placed in a zigzag pattern. The idea is that it can better adapt to the path of the sun to achieve a greater efficiency in terms of electricity production.
According to the first tests carried out, the increase in efficiency compared to the conventional arrangement is up to 20 times. The improvement is due to the fact that it can receive sunlight almost all day.
Not the first 3D design we’ve seen for solar panels, V3Solar’s rotating solar cells also theoretically generate 20 times more energy than conventional flat cells. It seems this is the way to dramatically increase efficiency.
The structure of these solar towers is made on a 3D printer. In addition, for the best orientation with respect to the sun, the base of the tower would have a small motor which, thanks to specific software, could towards the east of the tower to improve its efficiency, all depending on the latitude and of the season of the year of the place where it is installed.
This design allows the integrated solar panels to generate energy from sunrise to sunset.
At the moment, it is not commercially viable, as the manufacturing process is still too expensive. Hopefully in the not too distant future, this type of development can have commercial application for the good of all.
More information pubs.rsc.org