Read, Debate: Engage.
Read, Debate: Engage.
map tooltip
Nature · Economy

A new spin on solar

January 31st, 2013
in:Nature, Economy
by:Itai Lahat
located in:United Kingdom
tags:electricity, photovoltaic cell, solar, V3 solar

Will the future look like a blue cone? Will every roof on every house have a police light on top of it? According to V3Solar, a manufacturer of a revolutionary solar system, we will all see blue cones around us soon enough.

This new system developed by V3Solar, works like this: one meter-diameter cone feature a layer of hundreds of triangular photovoltaic cells positioned at an angle of 56 degrees, encased in a “static hermetically-sealed outer lens concentrator.” A lens concentrator is a neat way to produce more power from the sun with the same amount of solar cells. If you can use it to concentrate more of the light, you can produce more electricity. However, the more you concentrate light, the more you heat the system. So magnifying the sun 30 times, creates a 221 degrees Celsius and that’s simply too much for the solar cells. But V3Solar spins and creates a cooling effect that brings the temperatures down to 44 Celsius. And that’s a huge difference. That means that the new device can concentrate light 30 times, and still operate efficiently. That means that instead of flat 30 square meters of solar panels, you just need 1 sqm. And that means cheaper, way cheaper systems. In fact, they are so cheap they will be priced at 800$ a unit, and Total Cost Energy, is estimated to be $.08/kWh, an astounding number.

And now this number has been verified outside of the company. A third-party solar expert, Bill Rever, has conducted a technical analysis, and his findings support those of V3. Rever approves the “conservative” estimate of the company. V3Solar states that the cones can generate electricity for eight cents per kWh. Not only is that radically cheaper than current averages for solar PV electricity—28 cents per kWh—but it’s two-thirds of the cost of current retail electricity. On the face of it, if all numbers are correct, there is no more justification to use retail electricity from coal and gas. Blue cone pyramid seems to be the solution we have all been waiting for.

Article written by:
Itai Lahat
Current Map: Our coverage

Related & recommended articles

Signup for our monthly newsletter
The Best Picks from Our Editors