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Old 02-05-2017, 17:45   #1
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Outstanding solar breakthrough

The Swiss have done it again, an incredible new lens for solar panels that tracks the sun: https://youtu.be/Yrg3z1JN69c
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Old 02-05-2017, 17:58   #2
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Re: Outstanding solar breakthrough

won't play on mine, need direct URL link
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Old 02-05-2017, 18:11   #3
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Re: Outstanding solar breakthrough

So they have a motorized panel on top of the solar panel to focus the sun. Sounds expensive and not exactly maintenance free especially in a marine environment. I wonder if dirt gets trapped between the panels. 36% efficiency (accordingly to them) vs 21-22% for a good non mechanized solar panel. I don't know what else the Swiss have done but odds on this will flop.


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The Swiss have done it again, an incredible new lens for solar panels that tracks the sun: https://youtu.be/Yrg3z1JN69c
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Old 03-05-2017, 00:08   #4
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Re: Outstanding solar breakthrough

[QUOTE I don't know what else the Swiss have done but odds on this will flop.[/QUOTE]

Swiss Army Knife
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Old 03-05-2017, 00:48   #5
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Re: Outstanding solar breakthrough

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[QUOTE I don't know what else the Swiss have done but odds on this will flop.
Swiss Army Knife[/QUOTE]

Ever hear of the Hadron collider? The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is the world's largest and most powerful particle collider, most complex experimental facility ever built, and the largest single machine in the world. Over 10,000 scientists and 100 countries kicked in on the project. ...stuff like that.
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Old 03-05-2017, 02:07   #6
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Re: Outstanding solar breakthrough

Switzerland is where all the Nazi gold is stored.
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Old 03-05-2017, 02:20   #7
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Re: Outstanding solar breakthrough

I guess it depends on what they actually mean by "efficiency" and how they are calculating their numbers. There are lots of ways to do that and they appear to be cherry picking the numbers.

1. The lenses are concentrating solar radiation at the upper lens panel onto smaller point destinations on the lower cell panel. So more incident radiation available per mm of actual cell area. In that sense the cells will be more "efficient" in that they will produce more Watts that a similar cell that doesn't have a collector lens above it.

I'd guess that's how they get from 22% to 36%

2. They are using fewer cells per m because they need to be spaced apart for this to work. If they can produce the system more cheaply with the cost of the tracking lens panel more than offset by the reduced number of cells per square metre, then it will be more cost efficient to produce per m.

3. Since the total effective collection area is the area swept by the moving lenses, not just the surface area of the lens panel, they are collecting more radiation - so it can be a bit claimed to be a bit more efficient in in terms of the W/m of area of the lower panel

So they can certainly achieve increased efficiencies by some metrics.

BUT:

They are the same cells currently in use. There is no change in the efficiency of the cells in terms of converting x Watts of incident radiation to y Watts of output power. (The standard metric for cells) It will still be the same old 22%
The increased "efficiency" in terms of Watts per cell through increase "lensed" radiation must at least be offset by the decreased efficiency in terms of Watts per metre at the panel level because of the large amount of space between cells.

The system takes up more room because the lens panel and cell panel move relative to each other, increasing the surface area required per panel and this must at least offset the "efficiency" in terms of Watts per m or Wh/m/day of the "cell panel".

Bottom line, while individual cells may well generate more Wh/cell/day, and they may be a bit cheap to produce per m or per Wh , they will NOT be more "efficient" in terms of either the standard cell metric of conversion efficiency or the standard panel metrics of W/m or Wh/m/day where m is the area occupied by the total system.

For a boat with the usual demands of energy and space, those Wh/m2/day is the critical "efficiency" factor and this system won't really change that.
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Old 03-05-2017, 04:11   #8
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Re: Outstanding solar breakthrough

Yes I've heard of it and been to see it. Most of the tunnel is in France. Like you say it's an international project - so not a Swiss project.


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Swiss Army Knife
Ever hear of the Hadron collider? The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is the world's largest and most powerful particle collider, most complex experimental facility ever built, and the largest single machine in the world. Over 10,000 scientists and 100 countries kicked in on the project. ...stuff like that.
[/QUOTE]
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Old 03-05-2017, 04:19   #9
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Re: Outstanding solar breakthrough

Assuming that what they really mean is that the panels generate more watts per area unit over the course of a a given day than conventional panels, I think that it has potential, even though the panels are not more "efficient" in terms of base cell efficiency.

They claim in the video that the moving cells are embedded so I'm going to assume that exposure to the elements is not an issue.

That said, these have got to be heavier, require frequent cleaning given the shaped lenses, and performance on a mounting surface that is in constant motion is an unknown. Will be interesting to see how this develops.
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Old 03-05-2017, 04:53   #10
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Re: Outstanding solar breakthrough

Yeah. No offense to the OP, but I don't really see this as an outstanding breakthrough. More like an interesting idea, and we'll have to see how practical it is in the long run.
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Old 03-05-2017, 04:55   #11
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Re: Outstanding solar breakthrough

If this has an impact, it will be for a limited timeframe in niche situations.

I am pretty sure the costs per square meter of PV cells will continue to fall.

Applications like mobile use with limited space require greater efficiency of max'd out install area, not installing fewer cells per roof.

More likely an interesting experiment that may find other uses.

The Swiss are fine engineers, more sensible implementation of technology than most societies especially in use of military strength, excellent system of government, much better approximation of true democracy than most, good balance of meeting the needs of citizens vs business.

A bit of tech innovation would just be icing on the cake.
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Old 03-05-2017, 06:35   #12
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Re: Outstanding solar breakthrough

I'm having trouble figuring out the benefit.

Imagine a 1 square foot solar panel, with the cells packed close together.

Next to it, imagine a 1 square foot "Swiss" panel.

Regardless of the angle of the incoming rays, they both receive the same number of photons. In both cases, almost all of those photons end up hitting a cell.

OK, maybe there's some room between the lenses, and some room between the cells, but for the sake of argument, I'm assuming those are similar in total area.

I'm no expert, but I've heard solar cells are less efficient when they're hot. Concentrating the same amount of sunlight onto a smaller cell will presumably increase its temperature.

Is there some benefit to having more sunlight hit a smaller cell?
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Old 03-05-2017, 06:42   #13
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Re: Outstanding solar breakthrough

It would be neat if they could track the sun from a moving platform such as a boat. But I imagine that would wear out the mechanism rather quickly.
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Old 03-05-2017, 07:08   #14
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Re: Outstanding solar breakthrough

Using a glass panel to concentrate the suns rays onto a smaller area so a smaller solar cell is required allows the use of more expensive and efficient materials to construct the solar cell.
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Old 03-05-2017, 07:11   #15
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Re: Outstanding solar breakthrough

A lot of people don't admire a system of government that provided secret banking, money laundering and a tax haven.

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