Can you cut 1 Tonne of carbon pollution out of your life?Take the challenge
MIT researchers have discovers a 3D solar design to achieve power output that is up to 20 times greater than traditional fixed flat solar panels with the same base area.
According to TreeHugger, MIT researchers found that energy output from solar photovoltaic cells can be increased by stacking the cells in 3D configurations, hence solar towers and cubes.
Their vertical surfaces allow them to capture sunlight at all hours of the day, when the sun is closest to the horizon during the morning, evenings, winter and when sunlight is partially covered by cloud and shadow. The researchers at MIT ran theoretical tests in a range of latitudes, seasons and weathers using analytical software.
They then built three different models, two different cubes and a tower setup, and tested them on the roof of their laboratory for a few weeks.
While these designs may be more expensive to manufacture, the increase in performance will offset the cost of building them. For efficiency, researchers are focusing on the tower design so it can easily be shipped flat and then pop up during installation.
The next step is to test multiple towers together and see if shadow from the other towers as the sun moves across the sky affects the solar performance. Once all the kinks are worked out, these researchers hope to see a future where these designs are upon rooftops and in large solar farms.
Photos: Allegra Boverman
Read this next: