27 Mar '12, 7pm

3D Solar Towers Could Generate 20x More Energy Than Flat Panels

3D Solar Towers Could Generate 20x More Energy Than Flat Panels

Allegra Boverman /CC BY-NC-ND 3.0 MIT researchers have found that energy output from solar photovoltaic cells can be greatly increased by stacking the cells in 3D configurations like towers or cubes. The 3D designs can generate anywhere from double up to 20 times the amount of energy as flat solar panels with the same base area. These 3D designs increase electricity output because their vertical surfaces allow them to capture sunlight even when the sun is closest to the horizon during mornings, evenings and winter and when sunlight is partially obstructed by shadows or cloud cover. The researchers ran computer algorithms to come up with the best 3D designs and theoretically tested them in a range of latitudes, seasons and weather using analytical software. The researchers then built three different models -- two different cubes and a tower setup -- and tested them on the r...

Full article: http://www.treehugger.com/solar-technology/3d-solar-tower...

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