Sunday, February 22, 2009

And Now for Some Good News...

Innovation is not dead. A better concentrating solar collector has been developed. I like this one - good physics and more affordable price tag. Purely "pie in the sky" solar is a fine place to start, but we need more solutions that can be implemented in the real world. This looks promising.

From Technology Review:

Morgan Solar’s high-precision optic--part acrylic and part glass--is molded so that light is trapped and bounces toward its center. A secondary glass optic concentrates the light to 1,000 suns and directs it to a tiny, high-efficiency solar cell. The low-profile design promises to reduce the cost of manufacturing and transportation.

The acrylic component--called a Light-Guide Solar Optic (LSO)--is a new type of solar concentrator that could significantly lower the cost of generating electricity from the sun. Unlike existing designs, there's no need for mirrors, complex optics, or chemicals to trap and manipulate the light. "It's pure geometric optics," says Morgan, director of business development at Toronto-based Morgan Solar.

Solar concentrators have emerged in recent years as a way to intensify the amount of sunlight hitting solar cells, which are the most expensive part of solar panels. To make solar power more affordable, engineers have sought to use less solar-cell material by concentrating sunlight onto much smaller spaces.

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