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Old 05-24-2008, 04:58 PM   #1 (permalink)
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New Solar Panels

The other day I was watching a TV show called Ecotech I think. Anyhow in that show they were showing a company, (That started with a K), that was developing a new solar panel. It was flexible, based with plastic, more efficient that the current available framed panels and they claimed it would be much cheaper because of the material cost.

It looked like thin plastic rolls and was flexible enough to take the round shapes of barrel tiles and I think each strip was only about 10" wide and I saw them spooling it in rolls.

Anyhow, did any of you catch that episode, know what I talking about or even heard of such a thing? This type of solar paneling would be ideal for the roofs of vehicles and I wanted to stay on top of production dates, costs, etc ..

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Old 05-24-2008, 06:40 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Yep, that stuff has been around for years, but it's not as efficient as the standard kind, which might make it less ideal for cars since cars have very little real estate.
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Old 05-24-2008, 08:43 PM   #3 (permalink)
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You should look at www.sunpowercorp.com

Sunpower manufactures the most efficient consumer panels at this moment. The SPR-315 solar panel is ~22% efficient. The A-300 solar cell used to be the mainstay of solar car teams and they were only ~20% efficient. For comparison, the average solar cell efficiency is ~12-18%.

Sunpower makes roof tile versions, but I bet they are more expensive than normal panels. You'll get the biggest bang for your buck if your mount your installation on a solar tracker. Putting panels on your roof is like taking 4 gears out of your car's transmission...efficiency is severely affected.

Expect to pay ~$8000/kWh without subsidies. What the panels lack in price they make up for in efficiency (i.e. even though each panel costs more, you'll need less).

Without some sort of up-and-coming nano-technology, there is no way flexible film solar cells will meet the efficiency of Gallium Arsenide panels. The only technology likely to take Sunpower's throne away is concentrated light solar cells which have shown efficiencies of ~40% in the laboratory.

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Old 05-24-2008, 09:27 PM   #4 (permalink)
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We have some that Uni-solar made (now out of buissness...) that are simialer, they also stopped working a number of years ago, now our panels that are older (along with our newer ones) still work perfectly, of course they are made by business that are still around, not sure if there is a connection there or not but most of the flexible solar business don't seem to stick around for very long
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Old 05-25-2008, 12:21 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I wonder, has anyone done research on concentrating light onto solar panels using mirrors or lenses? Mirrors are cheaper than solar panels.
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Old 05-25-2008, 12:52 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnnyGrey View Post
I wonder, has anyone done research on concentrating light onto solar panels using mirrors or lenses? Mirrors are cheaper than solar panels.
http://www-03.ibm.com/press/us/en/pr...ease/24203.wss

#2, not really applicable to cars but cool tech none the less
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_furnace
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Old 05-25-2008, 01:30 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnnyGrey View Post
I wonder, has anyone done research on concentrating light onto solar panels using mirrors or lenses? Mirrors are cheaper than solar panels.
Yes people have done it, researched it, written books on it, sold products that do it, it is one of the best ways to get more power out of them, other then the fact that the power output drops as the temperature goes up, this is why they work so well in the north, when you have snow on the ground it reflects light, the air is also cold and the panels put out as much if not more then they do in the summer.
Now your next question is going to be on cooling them, this can and is being done but has it's own set of problems as water and electricity don't mix well, nor does water and mounting systems that can track the sun, it also adds another bit of complexity to a device that is simple and already lasts your life time.
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Old 05-25-2008, 02:14 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnnyGrey View Post
I wonder, has anyone done research on concentrating light onto solar panels using mirrors or lenses? Mirrors are cheaper than solar panels.
Quote:
Originally Posted by LostCause
The only technology likely to take Sunpower's throne away is concentrated light solar cells which have shown efficiencies of ~40% in the laboratory.
As far as I know, the record belongs to Boeing at 40.7% efficient.

I haven't heard of mirrors being using other than capturing light to heat up salt blocks (for steam) or stirling engines.

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Old 07-27-2008, 10:51 PM   #9 (permalink)
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New solar technology, from HP:

Cheaper, More Efficient Solar Panels
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Old 07-27-2008, 11:59 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Was it Nanosolar? :

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