25.08.14

See-through solar concentrators

Clean and renewable energy is a requirement of the future and solar power is one of the options that has been put forward as a solution. In its current state though, generating solar power necessitates the use of solar panels with large surface areas. A team of researchers at Michigan State University however has developed a new type of solar concentrator to combat this problem.

The device is called a transparent luminescent solar concentrator. The use of luminescent, plastic like materials for the purposes of producing solar energy is not new but has till now results have provided low yields and have been inefficient.

The device developed by the researchers is in the same mold with a 1 percent efficiency. Richard Lunt from Michigan State University however states that work is underway to increase the efficiency up to 5 percent in the future. The main point of interest of the transparent luminescent solar concentrator lies with its transparency. Previous luminescent plastics were colored. The transparency allows the solar concentrators to be used in buildings, cell phones and any other application where a clear surface is present.

Energy efficiency and green concerns have already started to be addressed by the pro AV industry. Control and building management applications in Asia specifically focus on conserving energy, which directly cuts the costs borne by the facility owners. If solar concentrators can help make solar panels smaller and more innocuous, then they might be implemented more by manufacturers in product design.

System integrators may also seriously consider solar energy as a viable option for power if yields were to rise and if the solar energy equipment could be incorporated without impacting the aesthetics of the installation. Solar panels may also help power outdoor installations. While the applications may be many, at present they are only hypothetical.

The technology behind solar energy generation has a long way to go before it can start to become commonplace. But the research shows that solar energy is headed in the right direction.