First, most solar panels are flat, which means they miss most of the sunlight most of the time. They only briefly face direct sunlight, unless expensive tracking systems are added. The Spin Cell is a cone:
The conical shape catches the sun over the course of its entire arc through the sky, along every axis. It’s built-in tracking.
The second problem: Solar panels produce much more energy if sunlight is concentrated by a lens before it hits the solar cell; however, concentrating the light also creates immense amounts of heat, which means that concentrating solar panels (CPV) require expensive, specialized, heat-resistant solar cell materials.
The Spin Cell concentrates sunlight on plain old (cheap) silicon PV, but keeps it cool by spinning it.
The essential characteristics of the design are:
1.Captures light from the full hemisphere of the sky to maximize the use of available insolation
2.Motion of the cell assembly provides cooling solving a fundamental problem of systems using concentration
3.The moving cell assembly can be used to produce an alternating current (ac) output directly without a traditional inverter
4.The cooling effect is sufficient to allow for the use of mass produced one sun cells available from hundreds of manufacturers globally
5.Enhanced efficiency is hypothesized via a “cascade effect” whereby cells retain and build some energy as they pass by the sequence of lenses
6.The system is self-contained and doesn’t require additional racking and mounting – it can be mounted directly to earth screws, poles or other low cost foundations.
While the final design has not been determined as yet, the ability of the spin cell to use standard cells under concentrated light provides a number of advantages.
The concentration of the sunlight improves both the production of the PV cells and the efficiency of the cells. Although normally one sun cells are not fully optimal for higher concentrations, current test data on the V3Solar Spin Cell shows 20X greater current production and an additional 20% higher voltage under 20X concentration during the dynamic spin. Using concentration also implies using substantially fewer PV cells per Watt of rated power or per kWh of output.
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