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The future of Solar Power is 3D

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posted on Mar, 28 2012 @ 03:19 PM
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Originally posted by abeverage
reply to post by Nicolas Flamel
 


I have always thought they should build them like tree leaves...


Complex shapes would probably be more expensive to build/maintain than the accordion tower. But MIT is thinking about other shapes:




This artist's drawing shows how a 3-D solar tower could be used in city centers to charge electric bicycles.


news.cnet.com...




posted on Mar, 28 2012 @ 03:23 PM
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Originally posted by getreadyalready
...They then discovered that an accordian or folding style of panels has more surface area facing the direct and indirect rays than a flat vertical surface of a cube. Again, no brainer.

This should be a disgrace for a research icon like M.I.T. They used computer algorithms to determine what my 5 year old could have deducted in about 20 minutes next to the swimming pool?


Maybe this was supposed to be released on 1st April or the students are from primary school? These super smart guys will be on to toaster design before they know it



posted on Mar, 28 2012 @ 03:26 PM
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reply to post by Skewed
 


There are limitations to how low the cost of solar panels can go. The reason why a lot of tech products (like CD players, DVD players, etc) drop so rapidly in price is that their first year or two on the market are supposed to cover the costs of industry retooling/setup, development, etc. It's not just "more people on the bandwagon" - it's the fact that they ran up ten years' worth of inventory in four years, and the first two years shoulder the lion's share of the costs for setting up the process.

Solar panels have been manufactured for decades. The process is expensive, toxic, and in competition with other silicon buyers.

The other problem is they suck, efficiency-wise. 15% is creme-of-the-crop in the solar panel industry. Known principles of Quantum Mechanics give a maximum theoretical efficiency of around 50%. You are better off using mirrors to heat a reservoir to turn a steam generator - in terms of power stations.

Even worse is the power storage necessary to make solar power practical. You're looking at expensive battery systems that degrade over time (not use) all slaved to high-power switching supplies that consume appreciable amounts of energy in their operation. The most expensive part of your setup isn't even the solar panels - it's the battery system and your supply regulators (though the batteries represent a recurring cost, requiring replacement about once every three to five years).

Right now - solar power is just not a wise investment to -replace- line power. Even if solar panel efficiency reaches its theoretical maximum (or another process unveils a 'demon' that allows for 100% energy efficiency) - solar panels will only ever be as cost-effective as the power storage and regulation system they require.

There are ways in which it is useful, to be certain. However, it simply doesn't represent "energy independence." It's not the miracle cure everyone seems to think it can be.



posted on Mar, 28 2012 @ 03:28 PM
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reply to post by EasyPleaseMe
 


This is real, it is not about better solar cells or equipment ,,, it is the fact that '1 panel'(tower) of this stuff will be producing energy from multiple directions at once..

the current panels performance are down to , locatin , slope, angle Direction South, east west etc......

now imagine a new panel that collects form N,S,E,W at the same time and from above..... i could show you the calculations but the design of the panel itself will give at least double the performance



posted on Mar, 28 2012 @ 03:30 PM
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Originally posted by Aim64C
reply to post by Skewed
 


There are limitations to how low the cost of solar panels can go. The reason why a lot of tech products (like CD players, DVD players, etc) drop so rapidly in price is that their first year or two on the market are supposed to cover the costs of industry retooling/setup, development, etc. It's not just "more people on the bandwagon" - it's the fact that they ran up ten years' worth of inventory in four years, and the first two years shoulder the lion's share of the costs for setting up the process.

Solar panels have been manufactured for decades. The process is expensive, toxic, and in competition with other silicon buyers.

The other problem is they suck, efficiency-wise. 15% is creme-of-the-crop in the solar panel industry. Known principles of Quantum Mechanics give a maximum theoretical efficiency of around 50%. You are better off using mirrors to heat a reservoir to turn a steam generator - in terms of power stations.

Even worse is the power storage necessary to make solar power practical. You're looking at expensive battery systems that degrade over time (not use) all slaved to high-power switching supplies that consume appreciable amounts of energy in their operation. The most expensive part of your setup isn't even the solar panels - it's the battery system and your supply regulators (though the batteries represent a recurring cost, requiring replacement about once every three to five years).

Right now - solar power is just not a wise investment to -replace- line power. Even if solar panel efficiency reaches its theoretical maximum (or another process unveils a 'demon' that allows for 100% energy efficiency) - solar panels will only ever be as cost-effective as the power storage and regulation system they require.

There are ways in which it is useful, to be certain. However, it simply doesn't represent "energy independence." It's not the miracle cure everyone seems to think it can be.


I know it is splitting hairs but 15% is a low grade polychrystaline panel monochrystaline are slightly better and Sanyo HIT better still .. but only by a few of pecent 18-19 tops..... but those lite %'s matter a lot on this scale.



posted on Mar, 28 2012 @ 03:33 PM
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reply to post by Quantum_Squirrel
 


It is only collecting more, because it has more surface area, and the additional surface area is producing a minimal amount of power in proportion to the cost of the extra panels. The primary source of power is still the panels closest to perpendicular with the sun's rays.

Of course, if you have more panels, you get more power, but the expense goes up. If I were investing in this project for my home, I would concentrate my funds on the flat surfaces that could be placed perpendicular to the sun's rays, and I would forget about wasting money on additional panels facing other, less efficient directions. If I wanted to sink more money into the project, I would sink it into better storage capacity, and energy conserving ideas to lessen the load on the system. Instead of buying more solar panels and pointing them in odd and inefficient directions, I would upgrade wiring, connections, buy a solar water heater, create natural lighting in the home, beef up insulation, swap out windows for very insulated and efficient windows, and do a pressure smoke test on the home to find any air leaks and fix them to conserve the energy I was producing from my panels.

I don't want to sound like a negative nancy, but this is a waste of technology and resources. We know how and why panels work, now we need to make the panels work better, and make the homes and businesses to use less energy. We don't need elementary science telling us more panels make more energy.



posted on Mar, 28 2012 @ 03:44 PM
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reply to post by getreadyalready
 


You seem to have thought this through for home efficiency.


They claim that:


Self-supporting 3D shapes can create new schemes for PV installation and the increased energy density can facilitate the use of cheaper thin film materials in area-limited applications. Our findings suggest that harnessing solar energy in three dimensions can open new avenues towards Terawatt-scale generation.


So this Terawatt-scale generation would apply to large solar farms built on an industrial scale yeah?



posted on Mar, 28 2012 @ 03:55 PM
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reply to post by Nicolas Flamel
 


I have been researching it for about 2 years, and it is the last step to having me entirely off-grid at my home. I have already split my service into several key areas. I have separate electric for my outside sheds, my well-pump, and my interior home. I have reduced my electrical consumption by about 30% already, and as soon as I can get it down another 20% or so, I will be switching to full-solar power on 3 distinct supply grids and storage systems. This way I have redundancy in case one system goes down or needs repair. Also, this way I can break up my initial investment into 3 chunks instead of 1 big chunk.

I will be going solar on an extremely limited budget, so there is no room for any waste or extra expense. Any extra funds will go into improving the efficiency of the system to get the maximum bang for my buck. This is precisely why it is a little annoying to think of someone spending extra money on extra panels facing the wrong directions, instead of spending that money on getting rid of energy loss at junction points, in transmission lines, or in eliminating the need for additional energy.

Also very annoying to me at present time is a large solar plant being constructed in pristine countryside nearby. Instead of subsidizing contractors, businesses, and homeowners to install solar systems with existing technology, and on existing wasted rooftop space, and instead of creating shade and reducing environmental impact and energy consumption....... instead the government has decided to do exactly the opposite and issue grants and fund a wasteful project to bulldoze 10's of acres of trees, and build a huge, inefficient plant, that will benefit nobody and provide a negligible amount of power to our city. It is a largely celebrated "green" initiative that entirely misses the point of being "green." It infuriates me to think about or to talk about, LOL!



posted on Mar, 28 2012 @ 04:00 PM
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reply to post by getreadyalready
 


MIT did test these towers on roof-tops. And I agree that roof-tops are now mostly just wasted space.

Although I would rather have a solar farm next to me than a nuclear power plant.



posted on Mar, 28 2012 @ 04:38 PM
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Originally posted by Aim64C
reply to post by Skewed
 


There are limitations to how low the cost of solar panels can go. The reason why a lot of tech products (like CD players, DVD players, etc) drop so rapidly in price is that their first year or two on the market are supposed to cover the costs of industry retooling/setup, development, etc. It's not just "more people on the bandwagon" - it's the fact that they ran up ten years' worth of inventory in four years, and the first two years shoulder the lion's share of the costs for setting up the process.



One could say the same thing about all technology.
How long have the iphones been out? Why haven't those monstrosities ever come down in price. It is just a repeated adaptation to the previous one, nothing new really. Oh yeah, forgot about 3g,4g and that marketing scheme that does not really mean a damn thing.

I wonder though, what is the efficiency of the panels that NASA uses on the space crafts?



posted on Mar, 28 2012 @ 05:12 PM
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reply to post by Skewed
 



One could say the same thing about all technology.


No, one cannot.


How long have the iphones been out? Why haven't those monstrosities ever come down in price. It is just a repeated adaptation to the previous one, nothing new really. Oh yeah, forgot about 3g,4g and that marketing scheme that does not really mean a damn thing.


Mostly because it's Apple. But also because the components they are built off of have already matured, industrially. Components for the mobile market are often based off of silicon manufacturing processes that are a generation or more behind what lead CPU manufacturers are. The market life of mobile devices is also fairly short - 36-48 months. Many people renew their two-year cellular phone contracts with the purchase of a new phone; so that pretty much dictates all 'new' phones will come at a comparably high retail price.

However, the price of metals used in industry is only going to go up as their use becomes more critical in other industries (demand), and/or as long as money-issuing authorities continue to authorize the issuing of currency that doesn't exist (Federal Reserve/Congress).


I wonder though, what is the efficiency of the panels that NASA uses on the space crafts?


Depends upon what generation - but you're looking at about 15%. As one member did post, earlier, there are some higher efficiencies out there, but mostly in laboratories or panels tuned to a certain spectra (IE - only 21% efficient in the presence of green light - performance drops off as you approach red and ultraviolet spectra).



posted on Mar, 29 2012 @ 08:09 AM
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reply to post by Aim64C
 


I agree with you, a little bit.

Actually, what I think is more so the case than anything that you just described and not that you are wrong either. But mostly, it is what is called planned obsolescence.



posted on Apr, 2 2012 @ 05:28 AM
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In Brisbane (my home town) and Sydney, the average residential property experiences enough rainfall and solar energy per annum for self sufficiency with some excess. The difficulty, of course, is collection and storage.

Collecting and storing water isn't all that difficult. Energy is a totally different story. Not only are solar panels inefficient, they are also energy costly to produce. So much so that the energy cost of producing a solar panel has only recently dropped below the total energy collection for the life of said solar panel.

Not to mention even more painfully slow progress in energy storage (batteries).

It seems awfully convenient that our current options are either pay a relatively low, but rapidly increasing, price for fossil fuels because fossil fuel resources are dwindling or pay through the nose for "green" energy.

Either way, supply authorities (energy providers) are laughing all the way to the bank.




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